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.
The agency received over 4,000 complaints of advance fee romance scams in 2012, with victim losses totaling over million.
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.
He did not send money for me.” “Because you love me, then you say, ‘Okay,'” Sheye interrupts. I keep on enjoying with my girls here.” He laughs wildly.
But Michael* also grew up a “street boy,” meaning he was able to make fast friends in the slum villages and farming communities we visited.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.It involves a taxi cab, a “juju man,” magic charms, and a huge bag of cash (and it’s way too complicated to explain here).Another go-to scam involves a taxi cab, a French man, a locked box filled with gold, and very expensive pliers.