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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.He put himself through college, and after working as a Nigerian soap opera actor and door-to-door men’s clothing salesman, he clawed his way into journalism.“And he is not even 18.” The two fraudsters make most of their money duping fellow Nigerians.(They insist that tricking people is not the same as stealing.Still, Nigerian fraudsters manage to dupe Americans into forking thousands of dollars over to complete strangers each year.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.Before that, he used to hang out with nomadic cow-herding kids, children who sell bottled water by the roadside, and budding scam artists.
(Ditto.) They asked to hire me out for a day for one of their cons because, they said, my white skin would bolster their credibility.
They typically only make about 0 per “client” these days, though they know other scammers who still rake in millions of naira through the email schemes.
“There is this boy in Kaduna [a city in northern Nigeria] who made over 2 million naira” last year on 419 scams, Danjuma says.
“Black man believes that white man is reality,” Danjuma explains. Sheye and Danjuma say they are each worth about ,000, in a country where more than 70 percent of the population lives on less than a day.
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.