Nigeria’s portfolio of crimes has increased in recent years as a result of the activities of internet scammers known in local parlance as “Yahoo-Yahoo boys,” who commit crimes through various forms of internet fraud both locally and internationally. These crimes have destructive impacts on Nigeria’s global image and also have a negative impact on the security of e-commerce in a world that is increasingly cyber-dependent.
Researchers surveyed 60 “Yahoo-Yahoo boys” (who were mostly undergraduates, school drop-outs, and unemployed graduates) to describe the nature and characteristics of Yahoo-Yahoo fraud; understand the economic, cultural, and socio-psychological factors that have encouraged the rising prevalence of Yahoo-Yahoo crime among youth; characterize the effects of Yahoo-Yahoo crime on the economy; and identify potential remedies to stem the tide of these crimes.
Findings reveal that poverty and lack of economic survival opportunities acts as modifiers of norms and culture, producing a ‘new normal’ that is seen in the accommodation of new criminal tendencies among Ekiti people. While Yahoo is widely acknowledged as an illegal and criminal enterprise, it is nonetheless increasingly perceived as a survival option in the face stiffening economic opportunities, thus condoned by dependent relatives and dependents who are mostly its beneficiaries. Policy recommendations include creating employment and improving youth wellbeing to discourage internet crime in Nigeria.
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