Yahoo Boy (Nigerian Scammer) Juju is Bullshit. Here’s Why.
We have all heard of the Nigerian prince scams. But, for those who have lived under a rock for the last 30 years, a Nigerian prince scam typically involves a scammer sending an email to a potential victim, convincing them that they have some long lost relative in Nigeria, and the victim is the long lost relative who’s going to inherit 10 million dollars. But just wire me $500 first to pay for the “taxes.”
Or maybe you’ve heard of non-delivery scams, where you sell some item on the internet and someone “accidently” writes a check for you that’s $2,000 over your asking price. So just send the extra to the “courier”, okay?
Or maybe you’ve heard about romance or military love scams, where scammers assume the identity of a fictitious lover, only to fall onto some sort of hardship and need $700 dollars sent over for medicine or an operation. And two years later you’re depressed and suicidal because you’ve never met this person, and you’re out $100,000.
One of the things that all of these have in common is Nigerian money rituals, also known as juju. To us westerners, the closest relative would be form of voodoo, typically performed by native doctors on behalf of Yahoo Boys (the local name for “Nigerian Scammers”). Here’s how it works.
First, the Yahoo Boy reaches out to their native doctor who can perform these money rituals. Some of the rituals may involve drinking a soup, spinning around, or using a human sacrifice. The rituals are intentionally intimidating, and the participant starts to believe that the ritual will be successful, due to the “uncomfortable” nature of the ritual. If the ritual does not appear successful, either the ritual wasn’t performed correctly or the person didn’t believe enough.
For those who receive a “successful” blessing, they become more confident and more offensive in their actions, often leading to riskier and higher risk scams. The more success, the more confidence they gain, and the more they believe the ritual (or rituals) worked. Eventually they can perform a ritual using a human sacrifice, which converts them to a Yahoo Boy Plus. For the “clients / victims” that the scammers may be engaging with, the target becomes more depressed and “entranced” by this engagement, because the scammer is being even more persistent with the person they’re engaging with, successfully wearing down the victim.
While Yahoo Boys think the juju works, the truth of the situation is that we just can’t put cuffs on all of them as cases take forever to build, let alone getting them indicted. Not only that, but some of the scams are SO LARGE that to try and unpack the fraud, it can take teams of analysts and law enforcement years to piece together the true picture of the damage that was caused, and even then the full picture isn’t seen. Oh, and don’t get me started on jurisdiction, area of responsibility (AOR, where the crime was committed), and all of the legal bullshit that goes into trying to subpoena an actors information. (30 days for one email account, for example) In addition, we have cases where hundreds of artifacts are spread across two dozen states (it was actually 30 states for that campaign) and it’s virtually impossible to tell what is what.
PLUS you have victims who are being lied to and have no idea what’s going on, as they’ve been lied to this entire time by a scammer on the other end. And that’s why it takes so hard to actually arrest these clowns, let alone make any substantial impacts.
And that’s why Nigerian juju is bullshit.
Correlation does not imply causation, and we just can’t arrest everyone.