‘Yahoo’, to everyone around the world is web services, but to Nigerians, it has a more sinister meaning aside being a mail service. It is an alias for cybercrime in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, if you call someone a ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ or ‘Yahoo boy’ people lean over to see cyber fraudster you are referring to. These scammers also have numerous other names including ‘Game boy’.
Over the years, young boys in their early 20s including undergraduates, fresh graduates and in some isolated cases, adults have turned to this type of fraud, fleecing unsuspecting individuals mostly gullible and unsuspecting foreigners of their hard earned money via emotional conversation engaged in through chat websites such as Yahoo Messenger and several others.
Yahoo boys operate in different ways as perpetrators specialise in different forms of fraud. Some people specialise in cunning men and women on dating websites, while others do bank credit card; and yet another sect, cheque. The irony of this fraud is that fake financial instruments are sometimes exported abroad where they eventually get to be used.
Indeed, the angles to cyber fraud are indeed a handful. However, the most popular remains cunning men and women via dating website.
As the popular saying goes, experience is the best teacher. With tales of sad experiences encountered by victims making headlines of newspapers and governments educating foreigners on the ills of trusting unknown people on the Internet, victims of cyber frauds have become smarter and the windfall of money being made by Yahoo boys have reduced to a trickle.
One of these ‘Yahoo boys’ we spoke with says that he would make as much as $50,000 in two weeks when things were good, but now, he finds it hard to make $200 in one month.
The need to fill in the gap and lead their usual flashy lifestyle led to the desperate need to acquire more cash at all cost. This situation gave birth to what is referred to as ‘Yahoo Plus’. They say it is an advanced way of hypnotizing clients using voodoo or black magic.
Chidi, an alleged Yahoo boy who asks his surname not to be revealed explains Yahoo Plus. According to him, “Yahoo Plus involves using fetish means to hypnotise victims in order to get what you want from them.”
Chidi further says, “You may not believe me but it is true. Those who are into yahoo plus use charm to hypnotise their victims. This is because the ordinary yahoo no longer yields the desired result. Our targets are getting wiser and no longer fall prey,” he said.
Chidi recounted an experience thus: “When I noticed that I was not making any headway in yahoo business, I decided to inquire from some of my friends who were in same business but were living better off. To my surprise, I was made to understand that the in-thing was yahoo plus. To have a better opportunity in the business, I decided to embark on a journey to Benin Republic in the company of some friends.
There, we met a herbalist who told us to buy three live cocks and other items, which he used to prepare some concoction for us. After that, we were asked to stand in front of the shrine, while the herbalist chanted incantations that would enhance our success in yahoo plus. As we left for Nigeria, we were given some concoction, which the herbalist said were prepared with human parts. We were asked to put the concoction in our mouths whenever we wanted to type or discuss with our victims.
But when I got home, I became restive. I remembered my mum’s admonition never to go into anything fetish but to serve the Almighty God. I kept the concoction away and watched as events unfolded. Three months later, one of us Chuks, made $3,000, but Odinakachuckwu lost his younger brother who went to use his laptop. The instruction of the herbalist was that no one except him should use his laptop. Just as we were dealing with that, Chionye, another friend that went on to the herbalist with me lost his girlfriend. I decided to quit at that point because I did not want anyone to die on my account,” Chidi concluded.
Another says “he sends clothes, which have been spiritually ‘worked on’ by a herbalist as gifts to their victims who become hypnotised when they come in contact with them. They do whatever they are instructed the moment they wear these clothes. The clothes are often tye-and-dye popular as Adire. And with westerners interested in the arts and culture of Africa, it is not always too difficult to convince them to wear the clothes as soon as they receive it.”
There have been talks of those who have sacrificed humans just to ensure that their source of income doesn’t go dry, there are also talks of Yahoo boys sleeping in cemetery and bathing in rivers to brighten their chances of hypnotising their victims. The tales of Yahoo boys who either put their hands on a small tortoise while chatting with their prospective victims have also made the rounds.
Speaking with Independent Newspapers, Mike Adebola, (not real name) a ‘Yahoo boy’ recounted his experience in a bid to increase his earning.
According to him, having spent years in the ‘game’ as some people call Yahoo Yahoo, he began to aspire for bigger deals. However, when the deals were not coming, he had to seek an alternative by asking his friend to show him the way.
Adebola revealed that they had to travel to Osun State for a ritual where the whole arrangement was to be concluded. Further, he revealed that on getting to the shrine, he realised that there was much more than he had imagined to the source of his friend’s money, hence he changed his mind.
Asked how he was able to leave the shrine having discovered his friend’s secret. Adebola says; “I was lucky because my friend was also worried. However, the man at the shrine told my friend not to worry because I would not be able to tell the story. I thank God that I am alive today to be able to speak about it.”
Regarding the probability that he had turned a new leaf, Adebola said he is still a Yahoo boy. “I still do Yahoo Yahoo, but the thing is that I am now contented with what I get. I would rather be alive to spend the money I make than die young.” When we asked him if any of his old friends had died, he said, “I don’t know. I parted ways with them a long time ago.” If Adebola’s experience is scary, the next narrative is even scarier.
Another one we spoke with recounts the ordeal of his female neighbour who slept with a ‘Yahoo boy’ whom unknown to her, was seeking a human sacrifice. Speaking with INDEPENDENT Newspapers, Aderogba said his neighbour had travelled with her boyfriend to Ibadan where he gave her a Coconut and Palm wine drink.
However, on returning home, she realised that she couldn’t stop bleeding from her private part. He wondered if girls are simply gullible or greedy because tales of Yahoo plus are always abound. Aderogba, advised girls to be careful about whom they date because Yahoo boys now use both family and friends for money rituals.
On his part, Khay Gold, (not real name) narrates how he met some of his old friends during Christmas period some years back. He said he saw his mates were living extravagantly; so in an attempt to find out what they did for a living, he met with one of them who later told him that what they were actually doing was ‘Yahoo plus plus’.
Khay Gold said his friend eventually told him that what they really do is use the star and good fortunes of girls by sleeping with them. He said having had sex with them; they are dumped and become unfortunate for the rest of their lives.
A confessed scammer who refused to give his name told INDEPENDENT Newspapers that in some cases, the rituals backfire. According to him, his former boss in Ojodu, Lagos State, ran mad when he could not come up with enough cash to meet the conditions of his ritual. To make it big, he consulted a spiritualist. After some rituals, he was told to bury two live cows monthly to appease the gods. After the rituals, cash was rolling in, as he made a windfall of money. Then, he got carried away and stopped the monthly rituals.
Subsequently, the money dried up. Worse was to follow when he started showing signs of insanity. A few of his friends who had done the same ritual came to his aid by raising money to buy the cows. After the rituals, he regained his sanity.
If you are still in doubt about the existence of Yahoo Plus, maybe the story of Stanley Akpeki, an Internet fraudster would quell your doubts.
Akpeki confirms the existence of Yahoo Plus. According to him, since finishing secondary school in June 2002, he has successfully swindled more than 20 victims, using chat rooms.
Akpeki’s success is based on the use of fetish aids. He claims that a ring he wears on his right index finger and a black powdery substance, which he mixes with honey and licks before speaking with his victim on phone, have worked like magic.
His word, “When you lick this substance, whatever you tell the maga (client) is what they do. He or she will be passionate about you and will start having good feelings towards you right from that moment. If you are smart, you can immediately commit him or her to send some money,” he said.
26-year-old Hakeem also known as H Funds revealed the kind of Yahoo Plus that he is into having been recently arrested by men of the Police. According to him, using juju on his victims makes it easier to control them.
His word: “After spending lavishly, we sometimes go bankrupt. So, we have no choice than to use metaphysical powers to hypnotise our victims online. The act of using voodoo is what people nicknamed ‘Yahoo Plus.’ I use it so that the victim, otherwise known as a ‘client’ will fall deeply in love with me and obey my every command. At least, I have been into dating scam for a while now and I can boast of two cars and a house. There are different kinds of voodoos; one is to use the image of the white client, another one is to make incisions on our hands, place our legs on a tortoise or take the client’s name to a cleric or native doctor. Sometimes, we take our phones and computer to the shrine,” Hakeem confessed.
All these submissions can be seen as outlandish, and impossible, those who are involved in them believe that these methods of scamming are tried and true.
Director of Operations at Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Olaolu Adegbite, says that the claims that fraud is assisted by fetish means are frivolous and unscientific.
Prophet Gbenga Ajadi of His Praise Deliverance Ministries frowns at young boys who take to Yahoo Yahoo under the guise of lack of jobs. Hear him.
“Yahoo business is very common in our society especially among our youths who are not ready to work. That there is a scarcity of jobs in the country does not give youths the place to involve themselves in fraudulent and devilish activities including the combination of fraud commonly tagged: 419, stealing and rituals. Inasmuch as the Yahoo business cannot be separated from the end time signs, I am using this medium to appeal to our religious leaders to preach true message rather than messages of prosperity that usually cause our youths to look for money by all means. The Bibles says money is the root of all evil even as we are made to know that the wealth given by God adds no sorrow. There is Yahoo business that doesn’t involve charm and ritual, some are just using Yahoo business as covered, but they do different things at night. The Bible says first seek the kingdom of God other things like money will be added if will seek God first, but our youth are seeking for other things. Despite the fact that there is no job in our land, they can still find something doing to earn a living, we are blessed in this country with natural resources and human endowment, but nowadays our youth are not creative. 75% of our youth’s want to make it at all cost and most of these boys are cultists. Our tomorrow in the hands of these youths is shaking. Our leaders are not helping matters when our youths are hearing embezzlement everyday; they too want to have access to money by all means.
Some parents also support their children who are a part of this evil act, but they have forgotten that whatever anybody sows so shall he or she reap.
There is no longevity again in our society because of this evil deal called Yahoo Yahoo.
What some of these boys get themselves involved in cannot be mentioned outside and that is why our youths die anyhow in our society because they want to get money by all means.
Parents should monitor their children, teach them the rightful path, as part of their own parenting responsibilities, and our religious leaders should preach message of peace, unity, love and eternity and not messages of getting wealthy quick without working or stress. Let preach genuine messages rather than messages of prosperity.
Enough is enough, no jobs, do not give our youths the liberty to get themselves in Yahoo business, nobody causes somebody to cry and not weep also, whatever you sow you shall reap. My religious belief condemns it, Prophet Ajadi said while speaking with INDEPENDENT Newspapers.
Jaye Olunloyo, a Psychologist says that the use of voodoo to scam people is very possible, and it has some scientific backing, but it is not the voodoo that is doing the job, but the human mind.
“It is what is called the placebo effect. When a doctor gives you a chalk and tells you it is panadol that will cure your headache, most likely the chalk will cure the headache. That is because you believe in the doctor and you believe that you will be cured. That is the power of human mind, we can make ourselves believe anything as we have faith in what we believe.”
Talking about how this placebo applies to scammers, Olunloyo says, “When these scammers go to the shaman or babalawo, they are told to follow some steps. When they in turn are talking to their victims, they become more confident and brave. Victims fall easily for confident people than timid ones. So it is the confidence they have in the concoction they are given that makes them brave and successful and not the concoction itself.”
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