+All the tricks and modus operandi
They are happening big boys in town – the ones who use the latest phones, be it the Apple iPhone 6S or the more recent Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge; they drive sleek cars, wear trendy and expensive clothes, have the girls to themselves with money to throw around and are the cynosure of all eyes – they are internet fraudsters, but popularly called Yahoo Boys.
And with just a laptop, mobile telephones, flash drives, external hard drives, printers and so on, they make megabucks online, employing various tricks and methods to defraud unsuspecting or more recently hypnotised victims, mostly foreigners, of their money.
Cyber fraud, known on the streets as Yahoo yahoo, is a criminal act which originated in the early to mid 2000s and has grown to become so widespread that it has virtually become the norm. So much so that you have to be a yahoo boy (practice the criminal act) to be considered one of the big guys.
In recent times, the illicit business has taken a turn for the worse with a diabolical and fetish twist.
As more and more foreigners fell victim to the fraudsters’ tricks and the awareness of their activities spread in foreign lands, it became difficult, near impossible, for the regular methods to yield dividends.
To use a more suitable term, the foreigners wisened up, and were no longer buying their made up tales.
Some popular tricks they use include freestyle. Freestyle is the go-to trick for starters. And the simplest, too. All one needs to do is create an account in any of the popular online dating websites and look for someone (mostly lonely, divorced or heartbroken and thus seeking love) who falls in love with the Yahoo boy; with time he or she starts paying by sending money to take care of bills (hospital, school, etc).
Another popular one is over payment. In this method, the Yahoo boy logs on to any of the popular internet classified sites as a prospective buyer, he then offers the person the seller cheque as mode of payment. In this case, the Yahoo Boys have a way of persuading the seller to send the excess after issuing an over payment cheque.
For example, a Yahoo boy could buy goods worth $1000 and issue a cheque of $5000. What he is interested in is not the goods he claimed but the excess money that will be sent to him.
Come and Carry or next of kin is another. The common used strategy in this trick is the scammer claims to be a banker and he tells his victim that a huge sum of money was left in his care by a late businessman and is hanging in his bank. Thereafter, the scammer tells the victims that he will need some certain amount of money to get the necessary documents to claim the money.
What is Yahoo plus and how it works
As is the case with any business, the practitioners went back to their drawing boards and restrategised to ensure the business doesn’t fizzle out. What they came up with is rather daring, they call it Yahoo plus.
Yahoo Plus, succinctly, is money ritual. It is an advanced form of the more traditional Yahoo Yahoo, which involves performing various rituals to brighten the yahoo boy’s chances of getting his victims hypnotised. In Yahoo plus, the yahoo boys employ diabolical means to hypnotise victims into giving up their cash, as against the former methods of playing tricks.
According to a source our correspondent spoke with, the Yahoo boys travel to as far as neighbouring Benin Republic, Ijebu-Igbo (Ogun) and Ibadan (Oyo) to consult fetish priests who requests them to provide particulars of the potential victim which they then use to prepare charms for the Yahoo boys and scar them with various incisions on their fingers to use.
They could be given rings which they are to wear on their fingers while chatting with the victim or soaps to bathe with before communicating with the rich potential victim, called maga in their circle. “Some are more fetish than just ring or soap though,” the source continued, “it depends on how big you want to be. They could be asked to perform rituals at a cemetery or river.”
Unlike in the days of the not so lucrative Yahoo Yahoo, Yahoo plus practitioners “don’t even waste time building a deep relationship with the maga, they just go straight and ask them for money when they are sure the person is rich. And since the maga is already hypnotized and subjected under the influence of his charm, he’ll pay”, the source also revealed.
On why the Yahoo boys travel to as far as Benin Republic and other states outside Lagos to consult spiritualists who perform the rituals, the source said “they doubt the Lagos-based ones as there are many charlatans and pretenders among them”.
What the law says about cyber fraud
+The penalty for the offence
The Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 outlaws cyber scam and its likes, and prescribes the penalty for the offences…
Part 1 of the Act states, among other provisions
“1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other enactment or law, any person who by any false pretence, and with intent to defraud
(a) obtains, from any other person, in Nigeria or in any other country for himself or any other person;
(b) induces any other person, in Nigeria or in any other country, to deliver to any person; or
(c) Obtains any property, whether or not the property is obtained or its delivery is induced through the medium of a contract induced by the false pretence… commits an offence under this Act.
2) A person, who by false pretence, and with the intent to defraud, induces any other person, in Nigeria or in any other country, to confer a benefit on him or on any other person by doing or permitting a thing to be done on the understanding that the benefit has been or will be paid for commits an offence under this Act.
(3) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) of this section is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 20 years and not less than seven years without the option of a fine.”
POPULAR YAHOO YAHOO SLANG
Just as doctors have medical jargon, and lawyers legal terms, Yahoo boys have their slang; and they include:
Wire is a term used to describe a kind of funds transfer.
Here, the Yahoo boy hacks into an account containing huge sums, then looks for a foreigner’s account that can handle such amount; he persuades the foreigner to help in receiving the money in his or her account for a cut. They then wire the money into the overseas bank account, the person withdraws and sends it back after removing the agreed percentage via any of the money transfer companies (Western Union or Moneygram).
Though the fraud transfer will be detected few days after, the Yahoo boy would have received his share of the transferred money by then.
Control is got from Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) and is a unique 10-digit reference number assigned to every money transfer.
The receiver (the Yahoo boy in this case) would need this tracking number when they pick up money at an agent location of the funds transfer outfit.
Format is simply the kind of tricks the Yahoo boy chooses to play on his maga.
A conversation between two Yahoo boys could go thus, “which format are you using for that maga? The other yahoo boy then could then say, I’m using chatting.
Chatting (or dating)
As the name suggests, chatting is a method of fleecing a maga. The Yahoo boy poses as a very beautiful lady on a dating site with a lonely or single relationship status, which usually attracts the males, who would send them messages and they chat on from there.
Yahoo boys in the news, arrests by the EFCC
In June 2015, five Nigerian students studying in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) were arrested for allegedly duping victims to the tune of N125m.
Seized from them were five laptop computers, 20 high-end mobiles phones, several ATM cards, SIM cards and fake documents believed to have been used to scam their victims, according to reports.
In January 2013, some Yahoo boy students were nabbed by men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) while they were withdrawing the proceeds from their illicit business.
The undergraduates, Otuyalo Damilola, 400 level, Computer Science, Lead City University (Ibadan); Adegbuyi Michael, a student of University of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia); Ibrahim Aruna of Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti (Ekiti) and Adeosun Matthew, 200 level, Banking & Finance, University of Ado-Ekiti, (Ekiti) were nabbed in Ibadan (Oyo).
Items recovered include, three laptop computers; one flash disk; two Visafone modems; one travelling passport; one Infiniti Fx 35 SUV, one Honda Accord car and some bank documents.
A suspected teen Yahoo boy, Tobechukwu Igbokwe was arrested alongside his accomplice for allegedly defrauding an American of $40m in November 2013.