How Do Scammer Organizations Work? Nigerian & West African Scammers [UPDATED]

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How Do Scammer Organizations Work? Nigerian & West African Scammers [UPDATED]

(Last Updated On: August 1, 2022)

How Do ScammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. Organizations Work?

How ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Work – A Series

A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Insight – Updated July 2022

How Do Scammer Organizations Really Work?

Scammers are organized criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. groups that have team sizes from as few as 8 to as many as 10,000!

This is a very large-scale enterprise. These criminal organizations can bring in many billions of U.S. Dollars alone each year!

Here is a useful diagram that may help you better understand the organizations that scammed you.

The Nigerian Scamming Model

How Do Scammer Organizations Work?

Almost 45% of victims believe they were scammed by a single scammer, yet our data indicates that over 97% of scams are performed by teams. (as of 2022)

What ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Victims Believe?

Also, unfortunately, almost 13% of victims believe that the face in the photo is the real scammer. They either do not understand that those are stolen photos or they are firmly locked in denialDenial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality..

Regardless, ignorance is what scammers count on to be able to harvest the richest possible population of victims. Scammers see victims as just another cow to be slaughtered – to be scammed. Victims who live in denial or just want to ignore the problem only make it easier for these criminal organizations to thrive.

The Scammer/FraudsterFraudster A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. Organizational Model

There are two basic organizational types in large-scale online financial fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.:

  1. Non-violent white-collar criminals
  2. Violent criminal cartels

It is important to remember that the vast majority of these criminals are non-violent. That is they engage in psychology violence with their victims, not physical violence. However, a small percentage are what we refer to as ‘Thug Scammers,’ these include the Sakawa in Ghana, the Yahoo Yahoo of Nigeria, and the Black Axe also from Nigeria.

NON-VIOLENT ONLINE FRAUDSTER MODEL:

One recent study released in July 2022 said this about the environment that scammers come from:

“With an estimated population of 211 million in 2021, close to 70 percent of theNigerian population is made up of youths (United Nations Population Fund,2021). Despite the growing population of the youths, a combination of prolongedeconomic crisis and corrupt political elite have virtually brought the country to itsknees creating in the process an army of unemployed youth whose future isuncertain. Nigerian urban youth gangsGangs A gang is normally a group or society of associated criminals with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over a territory or business practice in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Online gangs are not limited by territory and may operate side by side with other gangs while engaging in crime online. Some members of criminal gangs are initiated (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence, or rituals. Gangs are usually rougher and more visible than scammer cartels, and more often arrested. threaten the peace and stability of societybecause of their involvement in crime. Criminality by Nigerian urban youth gangstake different forms but what has increasingly come to the fore is their use aspolitical foot soldiers to rig elections and help local politicians to attack theirrivals. At the forefront of this concern is the youth’s involvement in various formsof chaos. Examples include the violence perpetrated by Niger Delta militants inthe past, and in recent times by Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers, and Fulaniherdsmen.”

However, we acknowledge the Nigerian (and other local gangs) but this is not as valid as it sounds, since the majority of Nigerian and West African scammers are university undergraduates or graduates. Meaning that they are educated and can get valid work, but instead choose the life of the scammer because it pays so much better! This is a question of greed.

The Single Most Important Thing To Remember

Most non-violent scammers/fraudster gangs work as teams! Not as individual criminals!

Typical Team Model:

  1. Research – obtains lists, identifies potential targets
  2. Graphic Design – steals photos, creates fake documents, IDs, designs profiles
  3. Contactor/Groomer – makes the initial contact and begins the groomingGrooming Grooming is a form of setting up a victim for a scam or other crime by befriending and establishing an emotional connection with the victim, and sometimes the family, to lower the victim's inhibitions with the objective of the scam or criminal activity.  Grooming includes the development of a trust relationship between the criminal and the victim, getting the victims to the point where they can be more completely manipulated.   process – usually up to and including the Amygdala Hijacking – setting the stage for manipulation
  4. Manipulator – typically takes over at the point where emotions have been discussed – will take the victim through to the point where money will be asked for
  5. Controller – manages the money harvesting process
  6. Actor – may be a female for use with male victims – so the victim can hear a female voice

Of course, this structure varies from team to team. These scams can be done with as few as two people, but most teams consist of 4 to 6.

VIOLENT ORGANIZATIONS:

We have talked about Sakawa and Yahoo Boys in other articles, but the Black Axe is described here.

The ‘Black AXE’

According to the BBC:

A violent mafia-style gangGang A gang is normally a group or society of associated criminals with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over a territory or business practice in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Online gangs are not limited by territory and may operate side by side with other gangs while engaging in crime online. Some members of criminal gangs are initiated (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence, or rituals. Gangs are usually rougher and more visible than scammer cartels, and more often arrested. in Nigeria linked to murder and fraud has infiltrated the country’s political system and launched a global scamming operation well beyond Nigeria’s borders, according to thousands of hacked documents and testimonies seen by the BBC.

The “Black Axe” gang has been operating for decades in Nigeria and is among the country’s most-feared organised crime syndicates. Membership of these syndicates, known as “cults” or “fraternities”, is outlawed in Nigeria.

For the past two years, BBC Africa Eye has been following the Black Axe, speaking to former members and combing through thousands of documents that appear to have been hacked from a number of prominent members of the group. It was not possible to verify the entire cache, but key documents were verified by the BBC.

Among our findings were emails that suggest a prominent Nigerian businessman and 2019 APC party candidate for political office, Augustus Bemigho, was a senior member of Black Axe and was involved in orchestrating fraudulent internet scams netting millions of dollars.

The cache of documents contained more than 18,000 pages from an email account linked to Mr Bemigho, including emails that suggest he sent guidance on scamming to a network of collaborators on 62 occasions and communicated with others about specific scamming targets.

“We have removed him close to 1M dollar,” says one email sent to Mr Bemigho, referring to a victim. The email contains the victim’s full name, email address and number, and instructions on how to progress the scam.

The BBC used Mr Bemigho’s emails to track down two apparent scamming victims, who said they were defrauded of approximately $3.3m (£2.4m). Operations by international law enforcement agencies indicate that Black Axe’s scamming profits may run into the billions. The BBC contacted Mr Bemigho, but he did not respond to the allegations.

Some of the material in the leaked documents – showing the graphic results of the gang’s activities – is too horrifying to publish. But the data paints a unique portrait of Black Axe operations between 2009 and 2019, and suggests the gang has penetrated Nigerian politics in its home region of Edo State to a shocking extent.

Two documents state that in Benin City, 35 million naira ($85,000; £64,000) was funnelled to the Neo-Black Movement of Africa (NBM) – a registered company in Nigeria considered by some western law enforcement to be synonymous with Black Axe – to “protect votes” and secure victory in a governorship election in 2012.

In exchange for the support, the files suggest that “80 slots [were] allocated to NBM Benin Zone for immediate employment by the state government”.

Kurtis Ogebebor, an activist in Benin City who works to try and stop young people being recruited into cults like Black Axe, told the BBC that Nigeria’s politics had become a “mafia politics”.

“Cultism seems to be at all levels of our government, from the lowest to the highest,” he added. “You find them everywhere.”

The Neo-Black Movement of Africa strongly denies links to the Black Axe, and the group’s lawyers told the BBC that any Black Axe members found among its ranks were “expelled immediately”. The NBM claims to have three million members around the world, and regularly publicises charitable activity – donations to orphanages, schools and the police, both in Nigeria and abroad.

“NBM is not Black Axe. NBM has nothing to do with criminality,” Ese Kakor, the president of the organisation, told the BBC.
But international law enforcement agencies have taken a different view. The US justice department has labelled the NBM a “criminal organisation” and says it is “part of the Black Axe”, and Canadian authorities have said that the Black Axe and NBM “are the same”.

In recent months, joint operations targeting Black Axe by the US Secret Service, the FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. and Interpol resulted in the arrest of more than 35 NBM members in the US and South Africa on charges related to multi-million dollar internet fraud schemes. The NBM told the BBC all these members have since been suspended.

In 2017, Canadian authorities broke up a money-laundering scheme linked to Black Axe worth in excess of $5bn – hinting at the scale of the gang’s global financial operations. Nobody knows how many similar schemes are out there, the leaked documents show members communicating between Lagos, London, Tokyo, Dubai, and a dozen other countries.

In Nigeria, the Black Axe is better known for its street level crime and brutality and alleged links to politics and business. But the nature of the connections has long been murky and unsubstantiated.

A former member of the Edo State government, speaking to the international media for the first time, told the BBC Black Axe membership is widespread within the halls of power.

“If you sat me down and say: ‘Can you identify Black Axe in government?’ I will identify,” said Tony Kabaka, who told the BBC he had survived repeated assassination attempts since leaving government and whose house and front gate are littered with bullet holes.

“Most politicians, almost everybody is involved,” he said.

We sent the government of Edo State the allegations that they have ties to the Black Axe, but they did not respond.

The above was published by the BBC on December 21, 2021 – our thanks to the BBC

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10 Comments

  1. Misty April 24, 2018 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    I think my Mom is being scammed. She met a man named Brad and is sending money to him (even though she says he is rich) because he gor into some kind of trouble and is in jail. But He loves her and wants to marry her. She wont give me any details though so i dont know how to report this. She doesnt have money to be giving away, she is taking out loans! This is an older gentleman, my Mom is 66 years old.

  2. Pamela Hall April 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much !! For all the information on military it help me to see my daughtwrs were telling me the truth.

  3. Adriana Punongbayan March 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I’m a scam survivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com. Thanks for educating us. I was in denialDenial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality. for a long time and that’s bad. I had to learn to open my eyes.

  4. Karen Coles March 14, 2018 at 6:32 am - Reply

    I think a man called Hansli Benson is trying to scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. me, He says he is in the military and is a orthopedic surgeon, he has been saying that he loves me, says he is widowed and has a 17yr old son, and is currently working in jordan has any one heard of this man

    • Romance Scams Now Editorial Team March 14, 2018 at 8:15 am - Reply

      Very typical scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost.

    • Grace August 14, 2021 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      You have a picture of this person named Hansli Benson, I think it’s the same one who’s writing me.
      Hansli Benson
      hanslibenson@gmail.com

  5. Elina Juusola March 14, 2018 at 5:35 am - Reply

    Thank you very much for this information. It is very useful indeed and explains a lot for people who are educating themselves about romance scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. and Internet fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.

    A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. in general. It is very useful to me as an educator, researcher and scam survivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com.

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