Diaspora Scam, By Joe Onwukeme
If your e mail address is accessible on the internet, you must have been tired of reading varieties of spam mails on daily basis intended to scam gullible Nigerians who fall for their unconvincing proposals. They send all manner of proposals, ranging from lottery winnings, job offers and inheritance notices.
Some claim they have millions of dollars in banks deposited by their late husband or father who died suddenly, as next of kin they are some how constrained from withdrawing the money their deceased left behind either because of their deteriorating health or there is a clause attached to the money that must be fulfilled before the money will be released to them, they know you can be trusted and want you to fulfil the clause with an assurance that after the successful transaction, 30% of the money will be given to you to start up a charity home or business in your country while 70% goes to them, if you are interested in the transaction you should reply immediately by sending your Name, Occupation, Age, Sex, Marital status, Phone numbers and Residential address.
Majority of them claim to be writing from Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina faso while the remaining few claim they are either based in Kenya, North Africa, Asia, working in an International Organization or a bank.
Why do they prefer to be writing from Burkina faso? What’s special about this West African country? Is Burkina Faso the financial hub of Africa or are they economically buoyant to be giving away millions of dollars to people?
I call it “Diaspora Scam” because of the manner of approach they adopt, they claim to be in a country while their gullible targets are in other countries. If their proposals are true as claimed, does it mean they don’t have friends or relatives in their countries that can be trusted to come and claim such huge amount of money? Why do they prefer to use people from other countries they don’t know?
Nigerians are known to be the major beneficiaries of this internet fraud, it is estimated nearly one-fifth of all such scams originated from West African countries, the Internet fraud became predominantly prevalent in the beginning of the 21st century as a result of the influx of internet activities in Africa, the youths are mostly the perpetrators of this act, unemployment has been a major factor that is making this internet fraud popularly known as yahoo yahoo to strive. Our endemic levels of corruption in all sectors of our nation has made this yahoo yahoo business a success in Nigeria, its been alleged these boys grease the palms of Nigerian security agencies, courier agents, banks and immigration officers to get away with their dastardly acts.
We have heard stories of how this con men swindle greedy foreigners of their hard earned currencies. What baffles me is the huge amount of dollars that is involved in their various proposals, I see no reason why I will prepare to collect money from someone I didn’t give money to keep or send money to someone I have never met, the swindled victims are to be blamed.
The internet fraudsters in Nigeria always justify their actions by claiming the highest levels of Nigerian government are all involved in scam activities. These internet fraudsters over the years have tarnished Nigerias image abroad and have done Nigeria more harm than good globally.
The Nigerian senate on thursday 23rd October, prescribed a penalty of seven years imprisonment for perpetrators of electronic fraud and cyber crime, the bill is seeking to punish all kinds of computer-related fraud, computer related-forgery, offences relating to phonography, cyber stalking and cyber squatting.
The bill should be given rapt attention and passed into law as soon as possible and Nigerian government should investigate and if found guilty punish all agencies aiding these fraudsters to succeed, it will go a long way in curbing internet fraud and also help our image in the fight against cyber crime abroad.
No matter how we try to justify it, cyber crime is bad, let us desist from it and channel our mindset to other internet activities that are not crime related.
Joe Onwukeme: An Idealist wrote from Enugu
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