ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The History and Progress of Nigerian Scamming

Updated on August 11, 2008

Beware whose hand gets in your pockets

The Scammer's Ready Fingers
The Scammer's Ready Fingers

Nigerian Scam


It certainly will not be fair to say that Nigerians were the originators of the internet mail scam, but once all sugarcoating is done, they really have redefined it. Before the internet became widespread in Nigeria, phone scams were already very popular and many were quite unwary of it. My father once had a call about ten years ago and the caller introduced himself as one of the state's commissioners, had gotten my dad's number somehow, he said (and with directories very common, my dad didn't bother to ask exactly how). Enthusiastically, he announced he had a business deal for my father. And the deal was to supply barrels of palm wine for a conference which was to be held in Lagos. My father was unnaturally unsettled. The business was legitimate, the bargain was excellent, but he felt there was more yet than he could see. Had he not an innate distrust of people, he would have gone ahead with the deal. On second thought he announced to us that it was a scam, a "419" deal (the number 419 was contrived as a euphemism for graft, but today it has to become the informal name of the business). We applauded his perspicacity and drew lessons for ourselves from that event.

419 was very lucrative business some thirty years ago, but my father and most other youths of the time spurned it preferring to labor for their money than hoodwink another out of his'. And there was also the wholesome anxiety not to bring shame to the family name. However, a great number took to this venture with abandon, made good money --as is said in everyday parlance, though I should prefer to label it bad money-bought houses here and there, rode the latest cars, but still the vast majority spurned such a line of business as I've written.

Then came the internet with its illimitable opportunities. The older generation (my father's) was not quite conversant with the hues and shades of this new tool, but my "Y2K-compliant" generation did not fail to put this modern tool into quick employ. By and by, 419 failed to describe the nature of this refurbished form of scam and so it became necessary to invent new names, and especially euphemisms able to dissolve away the enormity of the crime. Eventually, "Yahoo" was adopted as the name of choice for this "game". The fraudsters became known as "Yahoo Boys". Then with the release of Olu Maintain's song, "Yahooze", this business' name grew funkier still.

Yahooze crept up stealthily. Its growth was overnight and awe-inspiring. The Federal Government saw the threats of this new scam as a far cry and did not, at first, bother to attend to it. When faced with external clamors for a speedy combat, two institutions were set up: the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commision (ICPC). But, at first, internet scam was among the least of these institutions' cares. There was the more pressing need for probity in the public service, in the various ministries and commissions, in the presidency, in state parastatals and therefore these two institutions bothered with combating crimes in these more important spheres, while internet scam hit its peak! Thereupon, the EFCC and the ICPC sprang to life arresting, prosecuting, jailing, executing internet scammers depending on the enormity of their crimes, for there were mail scam cases that involved murder. Cybercaf├ęs were raided by the EFCC every so often and scammers were apprehended at one fell swoop. Many thought the EFCC would be able to give mail scam its quietus, but this was not possible for the following reasons:

  • o Some rich scammers from highfalutin families often bribed their way away from the EFCC's penalties
  • o Dissatisfied, low-rank, low-pay officials proved an easy way out for most scammers who would make these officials offers that could not be refused
  • o Legal bureaucracy often terminated several cases before they could get a hearing
  • o Most importantly, there was the belief that the two institutions were hunt dogs for the then Mr. President who exploited these institutions to further his political theory

I should love to think that internet scam will be extirpated all too soon, but such thinking would be entirely wishful. Internet scam has provided a source of income for very many people who profit from it one way or other. Scammers are indefatigably resolved to "yahoo till the casket drops" as I once heard from a friend. And as many ISPs have sprung up caring all for profit and not at all for the use to which their service is put, it becomes unarguable that yahooze would hit an all-time high every new year.

Finally, when I see these scammers actively at work "to yahoo till the casket drops", with not a twang of compunction to hit their consciences and stir it around, but instead beseeching Jesus of Nazareth, that man full of holiness and virtue, to bless the work of their hand, I shudder to think that this terrible state of affairs may continue ad infinitum, unfortunately.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • babarushe profile image


      9 years ago

      Sirwilly, I'm glad that you could come up with this information about the origin of the Nigerian Scam. It seems as if Nigeria is the only country into it because it is all over the internet, personal discussions and all that.

      Just as every other issue affecting any country, be it economic, political, crime, academic etc, the best approach is to dig into the root of the problem and get a first hand information about the whole thing. That would help everyone form a fundamentally right opinion about the issue.

      I have lived and worked for many years in one of the hottest cities in Nigeria in terms of commerce, crime and politics and has very closely followed the origin and development of this scam thing in Nigeria even to the EFCC office since 2000 till date.

      I have lived in Enugu, Owerri, Aba, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Lagos, Umuahia, Uyo,Calabar,among other cities.

      I know it exists just as in any other country but we need to be informed properly so that the good in Nigeria would not be branded bad and ugly.

    • sschilke profile image


      10 years ago


      I have always wanted to know some more about the Nigerian scam artists. The hub was informtive. I enjoyed reading it.



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)