My Whatsapp is full of messages from my mum, aunties and uncles that vary from predicting impending doom to funny videos like someone making a song about jollof rice.Some of the messages are so outrageously false, I can’t believe they are passing it around with all the faith in the world.
They also tend to target middle-aged people looking for stable relationships.
The rationale is that this type of person is likely to be more desperate, gullible and financially stable.
The most common comment of victims who think they have found the love of their life is "I can't believe I was so stupid!
" From internet cafes all over west African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal etc scammers are zeroing in on their prey - singles looking for love online. The Nigerians call them 'maghas' which is slang for gullible white people.
However sooner or later, the vulnerable hearts receive requests that will ultimately lead to financial losses and heartbreak.
The scammers choose chat rooms and dating sites because the person in love offers the chance of the biggest payoffs.
They then spend months chatting up and luring their naive targets with online intimacy.
They often pretend to be foreign specialists [from the US, UK or Canada, but can be any European country]temporarily working in Nigeria or other African country.
Picture being woken up at 3am by what sounds like Twista speed-rapping through one of his albums – but it’s actually your Nigerian parent praying in tongues.
Sounds scary when you’re in your duvet and bleary-eyed, but enter their room and see their funny facial expressions as they’re praying. You’re thankful for a parent praying on your behalf anyway.
Then they convince their soul mates to bank them into their bank account and then wire them the money via Western Union.