The “entrepreneurs” behind those email scams

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The Christian Science Monitor profiles the ‘yahoo-yahoo boys’:

In the heart of sub-Saharan Africa's most-crowded metropolis, in a dimly lit Internet café thumping with Nigerian music, clusters of two and three teenage boys hover around aging computer screens. They use their Nike T-shirts and baggy jeans to wipe sweat off their brows and palms as they intently craft deceptive e-mails and scour the Web for foreign e-mail addresses.

These are Nigeria's "yahoo-yahoo boys" - purveyors of their country's most infamous export: scam e-mails sent en masse daily to in-boxes around the world. They represent the lowest rung of powerful, politically connected gangs that aim to swindle gullible, greedy foreigners - especially Americans - out of millions of dollars.

Though unfortunately they not only steal from the foreigners that somehow fall for their scams, they also hurt anyone trying to do legitimate business in Nigeria. Ethan Zuckerman provides more commentary, and also points us to the popular scam-inspired Nigerian songs: “I Go Chop Your Dollar” (.mov), and “419 State of Mind” (mp3).

For more, see the Nigerian Fraud Email Gallery or 419 er Watch.

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