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Over the past decade or so, the United States has cracked down on Nigerian Internet scams.
Western Union, for example, would not allow me to wire my Nigerian fixer an advance portion of his pay because, the operator told me, I was likely the victim of fraud.
Though they lie for a living, Sheye insisted, “We are telling you the fact and the truth.” Sheye and Danjuma have a name for the advance-fee email scams, in which victims agree to to send money to a stranger, banking on the promise of love or fast money.
They called these cons “Yahoo” jobs, pronounced Ya-OO.
But Michael* also grew up a “street boy,” meaning he was able to make fast friends in the slum villages and farming communities we visited.
He put himself through college, and after working as a Nigerian soap opera actor and door-to-door men’s clothing salesman, he clawed his way into journalism.
They’ll fly potential marks to Ghana, for example, and put them up in a fancy hotel while they meet with Sheye and Danjuma’s faux business partners there.
I just returned from a reporting trip to Nigeria, where I was traveling around the country talking to terrorism experts, nomadic cattle herders, and government officials about how global warming affects conflict in the country. As a newswire reporter focused on the terrorist group Boko Haram, he was able to provide crucial context for my story.
“Black man believes that white man is reality,” Danjuma explains. Sheye and Danjuma say they are each worth about ,000, in a country where more than 70 percent of the population lives on less than a day.
They say they’d make a lot more than that, but they blow much of their income entertaining “clients” in order to convince the victims they’re legit.
Another go-to scam involves a taxi cab, a French man, a locked box filled with gold, and very expensive pliers.
(Ditto.) They asked to hire me out for a day for one of their cons because, they said, my white skin would bolster their credibility.
“They don’t know what to do with money.” “Whenever we want to fraud somebody, we will know what you are worth,” Danjuma says. ” Even “how much you have in your account.” They glean all this information just by developing a tight relationship with the dupe.