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The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is tasked with cracking down on con men like these. The duo says they are able to skirt law enforcement because they have a lot of people on their payroll. They estimate that 30 percent of their earnings go to what they call “security”—that is, the payment of bribes.“We are not scared of any minister or president,” Danjuma says, his words slightly slurred by the third 20-ounce bottle of Star.In 2011, the FBI received close to 30,000 reports of advance fee ploys, called “419 scams” after the section of the Nigerian criminal code that outlaws fraud.
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.
Still, Nigerian fraudsters manage to dupe Americans into forking thousands of dollars over to complete strangers each year.
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.
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.
Maybe…you need a black man,” he says, his down-sloping eyes very serious.
At that point, the scammer will start to “give [the victim] a process,” promising to come visit her, but asking for money to take care of a few things first: “My car has problem,” or “My father is in Italy.Yes, Nigerian scam artists, like the ones who send you emails purporting to be from an African prince who will pay you to help him move million into your country, and all you have to do is give him your bank account number.I told Michael I wanted to interview his scammer friends. But I figured I’d be doing a public service by distracting the scammers from conning old folks for a couple hours.Since Ghana is a less corrupt country, they say, victims are more likely to enter into a business deal with a Ghanaian than a Nigerian.The two say they own homes worth about a quarter million dollars each.He knows if he meets “a Saudi Arabia person,” he’s in luck.“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.“There is this boy in Kaduna [a city in northern Nigeria] who made over 2 million naira” last year on 419 scams, Danjuma says.“And he is not even 18.” The two fraudsters make most of their money duping fellow Nigerians.Ten years ago, Sheye and Danjuma, who are both in their mid-30s, say they could make up to 2 million naira—about ,000—per Yahoo job, but the “US are very wise” now, Sheye says.They typically only make about 0 per “client” these days, though they know other scammers who still rake in millions of naira through the email schemes.