Scammers Are Known For Developing Their Own Slang, But It Has Gone From Just A Few Words To Almost A Language
As part of the strategies developed to ‘institutionalize’ scammers and their illicitillicit Illicit means something that is not legally permitted or authorized under the law; unlicensed; unlawful. It can also mean disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons. business, and evade the punitive hand(s) of the Nigerian and international law enforcement agencies, cyber scammers in Nigeria have devised various strategies, including the deployment of anti-language and slangy expressions in their transactional and social interaction.
Studies on cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. in the Nigerian context have largely addressed the phenomenon from the sociological, economical and information technological perspectives with little attention paid to it from a linguistic perspective. Therefore, this study investigates the linguistic strategies employed by cyber scammers in Southwestern Nigeria in their social and transactional interaction.
Findings reveal slang coinages and overlexicalisation, and relexicalization (semantic extensions) are anti-language phenomena characterizing cyber scammers’ language in the region.
In other words, scammers are inventing their own language or terminology in their work and interpersonal or organizational relationships.
The full PDF of the study is below, but here are some of the important findings!
Types Of CybercrimesCybercrimes Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. In Nigeria
Nigeria’s cybercrimes include cloning of websites, false representations, Internet purchase and other e–commerce kinds of 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..
The commonest forms of cybercrimes in Nigeria are financial fraud, cloning of electronic mails, identity theftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. (which often manifests or comes in form of emails emanating from impostors claiming to be representing certain financial institutions and requesting customers to supply certain sensitive information about their accounts to avoid their accounts being blocked, thus making transactions impossible) credit card theft, cyber harassment, fraudulent electronic mail, cyber laundering, malwareMalware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts., and cloning of websites.
Prevalent in Nigeria include:
- Yahoo attack, which involves the use of e-mail address-harvesting devices to obtain information about the prospective victim’s e-mail address(es) from the Internet access points, with the intention of sending such 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. messages;
- hacking which has to do with the perpetrator breaking the security codes of financial institutions or organizations for e-commerce,
- funds point cards and e-marketing products sites;
- software piracy (illegal reproduction and distribution of software applicationsApplications Applications or Apps An application (software), commonly referred to as an ‘app’ is a program on a computer, tablet, mobile phone or device. Apps are designed for specific tasks, including checking the weather, accessing the internet, looking at photos, playing media, mobile banking, etc. Many apps can access the internet if needed and can be downloaded (used) either for a price or for free. Apps are a major point of vulnerability on all devices. Some are designed to be malicious, such as logging keystrokes or activity, and others can even transport malware. Always be careful about any app you are thinking about installing., games, and movies);
- malware dissemination,
- phishing (cloning of products and e-commerce sites/pages with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting victims);
- spoofingSpoofing Spoofing occurs when a caller maliciously transmits false caller ID information to increase the likelihood that you'll answer. Scammers often spoof local numbers, private companies, government agencies and other institutions. It can also apply to pretending to be an email address, or through other media. (the process of having a computer on a network to operate like another, usually one with exceptional access rights, so as to access information on the other systems on the network);
- cyber plagiarism (stealing other peoples’ ideas via the Internet public domains);
- cyberstalking (in which the 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. does a follow-up on the unsuspecting victim by sharing emails and entering the chat rooms frequently with them);
- cyber defamation (in which the scam perpetrator sends e-mails containing defamatory contents to people related to the victim or posts such on a website);
- salami attack (a technique through which small amounts of assets are removed from a larger pool. The stolen assets are removed one slice at a time (Hassan et al, 2012, p. 627).
Of course, there is more, with 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 BEC scams having the highest priority and profitability.
What is this?
At certain times and places we come across special forms of language generated by some portion of a subset of society – kind of an anti-society; these we may call “anti-languages.” An anti-language serves to create and maintain social structure through conversation, just as an everyday language does; but the social structure is of a particular kind, in which certain elements are strongly foregrounded. This gives to the anti-language a special character in which metaphorical modes of expression are the norm; patterns of this kind appear at all levels, phonological, lexico grammatical, and semantic. The study of anti-languages offers further insights into the relation between language and social structure, and into the way in which text functions in the realization of social contexts
(Halliday, 1976: 1)
We provide this so that victims may be watchful for these terms in the course of their conversations with these criminals!
Table 1. Initialisms in cyber scammers’ language
|Item||Antilanguage/Slangy expression||Source Language||Conventional meaning||Yahoo business Usage|
|2||MO||English||Money order||Money order|
|3||LR||English||Liberty reserved||Liberty reserved (This is a mode of payment).|
|4||MTCN||English||Money Transfer Control Number||This is an acronym for Money Transfer Control Number|
|6||O G||English||–||Original Gangster|
Table 2. Coinage in cyber scammers’ language
|Item||Anti-language/Slangy expression||Source Language||Conventional meaning||Yahoo Business Usage|
|1||Bad market||English||–||This refers to an unsuccessful business attempt, especially when a prospect detects the pranks of the yahoo boys and withdraws from a proposed transaction with them.|
|–||This is used when a prospect/target victim has discovered the pranks of the yahoo boys but pretends to play along.|
|3||Ọká ti fo/ Iṣẹ́ ti já||Yoruba||This is a Yoruba expression that means “the secret has leaked”. This is usually used when a business plan is foiled, especially when it involves the intervention of the security agency.|
|4||Grinding||English||Grinding is an adjective in English usually used to qualify poverty.||Browsing/ chatting online with a prospective victim “maga”.|
|5||Eke||NP||–||It means police in yahoo boys’ parlance|
|6||Maye||–||–||Female victim (mugùn)|
|7||Maga||–||–||Male victim (mugun)|
|8||Múgùn||–||–||Victim, male or female|
|12||Gba control||Codemixed Yoruba-
|–||Hit the jackpot|
|13||Wire||English||In English, to ‘wire’ is to transfer currency from one||What yahoo boys have done here is to reduplicate the term wire to coin their own expression wire which has an entirely different meaning|
|account to another, especially when it involves international transactions.||from the word ‘wire’ in the general sense. In this context, wire is hacking into (international) bank websites in order to make use of the code for illegal withdrawals and transactions (through pickers). This practice is not limited to banks; it is also extended to multinationals and international organizations.|
|14||Wash||English||Generally, Nigerians wash dirty items such as clothes, used, plates, etc.||Fake currency. This process also involves reduplication|
|15||G-boy/G-nigga||English||–||Yahoo boy/cyber scammer|
|16||Gbẹ́nusi||Yoruba||This has no conventional meaning in the Yoruba language, except when used as part of a sentence; for instance, Gbe enu si microphone yen
‘draw your mouth close to the microphone
|The imperative mono-lexical sentence in cyber scam parlance means ‘celebrate or throw a big party after a successful deal’.|
|18||Gbé pósí||Yoruba||Carry casket||To celebrate (usually after a successful deal). This is usually done at parties in clubhouses, pubs, and relaxation centers|
|19||Come and marry||English||–||‘Come and marry’ is a concept in yahoo business where the scammer pretends to be in love with the suspect (usually a foreigner) and promises marriage to him/her with the intention of defrauding him/her|
|20||Sáná wọlé||Yoruba||–||Begin the party with fireworks. The expression is used by Yahoo boys at parties|
|21||Ṣáṣẹ́||Yoruba||–||Browse all through the night, searching for clients (prospective maga or mugu)|
|22||Come and carry||English||–||This phrase is employed in the context where an unsuspecting victim has been deceived into paying for goods or items that do not exist|
|23||HackerHacker A computer hacker is a computer expert who uses their technical knowledge to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle, within a computerized system by non-standard means. Though the term hacker has become associated in popular culture with a security hacker – someone who utilizes their technical know-how of bugs or exploits to break into computer systems and access data which would otherwise be unavailable to them – hacking can also be utilized by legitimate figures in legal situations. For example, law enforcement agencies sometimes use hacking techniques in order to collect evidence on criminals and other malicious actors. This could include using anonymity tools (such as a VPN, or the dark web) to mask their identities online, posing as criminals themselves. Likewise, covert world agencies can employ hacking techniques in the legal conduct of their work. Oppositely, hacking and cyber-attacks are used extra- and illegally by law enforcement and security agencies (conducting warrantless activities), and employed by State actors as a weapon of both legal and illegal warfare. ìkà||Codemixing of English-
|–||An expert hacker|
|24||Balling||English||–||Spending money lavishly|
|25||Baller||English||–||A yahoo boy who spends money lavishly|
|26||Owó afẹ́fẹ́||Yoruba||–||Money made from cyber scam|
|27||sha prapra||–||–||Original, confirmed, authentic|
|30||Sayé||Yoruba||–||Enjoy/ lavish money|
|31||Wọ́ke||Yoruba||–||To gain illicit access to the codes on a prospective victim’s credit card, with the intention of using same to perpetrate illegal money transfer, withdrawal or any other fraudulent act|
|32||Home boy||English||–||An amateur yahoo boy who is just learning the ropes|
|33||Body IP||English||–||Body Insurance Policy: Voodoo, charm|
|34||Westy||English||Western Union||This word is derived from the expression Western Union through a morphological process called blending. This is the means through which yahoo boys claim whatever money has been deposited into their account by victims (maga).|
|36||Lappy||–||–||Laptop, coined from the word laptop via a clipping|
|37||Gbéra||Yoruba||Arise||Wise up (used to encourage fellow yahoo boys to intensify their efforts or up their scam skills or practices)|
|40||Lamgbe||Yoruba||–||Someone that is slow/foolish in nature, is usually used to describe a victim that falls easily|
|41||Kizo||–||–||To stick to.., used to describe a situation where a yahoo boy is determined to stick to a particular victim until he finally succeeds in achieving his aim. This is in view of the fact that many ‘victims’ can be very difficult to dupe.|
|42||Lamba||–||–||Lies or false stories narrated by a scammer to win the trust or confidence of the prospective victim|
|43||Omo beta||Yoruba/English code mixed||–||A nice yahoo fellow (perhaps due to his willingness to help others with proceeds from a ‘deal’)|
|45||Saint Sami-Ganja||English/unknown code-mixing||–||A very successful yahoo boy|
|46||Gbẹ́sẹ̀ kúrò lóri wire yẹn||Yoruba/English||Remove leg from wire||Avoid a/the risky move (usually as a warning statement to a fellow yahoo boy perceived to be threading a dangerous path) or seen to be after a ‘client’ suspected to be smarter or can easily initiate their arrest process if he/she is duped|
|47||Ijoba wire||Yoruba/English||–||A yahoo clique/group|
|48||Science man||English||–||A native/witch doctor|
|49||Ká pátá||Yoruba||A new practice among yahoo boys in which ladies’ pants and men’s boxers are being stolen for ritual purposes. This is also known as Free yahoo|
|50||System boy||English||–||Yahoo boy|
Table 3. Semantic extension in cyber scammers’ anti-language
|Item||Anti-language/Slangy expression||Source Language||Conventional meaning||Yahoo Business Usage|
|1||Ọká||Yoruba||In Yoruba, ọká is a type of snake, that is slow to bite but very deadly when it does.||In Yahoo business, it means secret|
|2||Hammer||English||to hit or kick something with a lot of force||This means a jackpot, a “business” boom. Yahoo boys use this expression when they have just recorded a success in their business.|
|3||Àpá||Yoruba||The mark of an old wound/scar||The digits on a credit card.|
|4||Bombing||English||To destroy something by exploding a
bomb inside it
|This is the process of sending different messages to different “maga/maye” by using bulk sms. Eg Dear Customer, your ATM has been blocked. To reactivate it, please call 000000|
|5||Ewé||Yoruba||This is a Yoruba word that means “leaf”.||However, in the context of the yahoo business, this is used to refer to a cheque.|
|6||Format||English||The way in which information is arranged and stored on a computer||Series of e-mails specially prepared to be sent to prospective victims. It contains lies and falsehoods, systematically package to deceive unsuspecting victims. This could even come in form of SMS (Short message service).|
|7||Já||Yoruba||In Yoruba, ‘Já’ means cut, used when an item like a rope cuts.||This in yahoo business means “Fail”, hence such expressions as “iṣẹ ti já” .This literarily means “it has failed”. This is used when a business plan fails or a prospective victim discovers the pranks of yahoo boys.|
|8||Log-in||English||Log-in in English implies entering one’s details to have access to one’s account, usually a mail account.||In yahoo, this implies a stolen username and password details.|
|9||All night||English||All night in Nigerian English (NE) refers to Vigil||Night browsing|
|10||Loader||English||One who loads||One who deposits/pays fake currency or cheque into a victim’s account|
|12||Ọmọ ọpẹ́||Yoruba||Ope’s child||A highly successful yahoo boy|
|13||Owó ọpẹ́||Yoruba||Ope’s money or thanksgiving money||A sum of money (made through yahoo yahoo) that puts a smile on the face of the|
|14||Àgbà awo||Yoruba||Chief priest/ a senior (occult) iniate||A senior fellow in cybercrime business|
|15||Run down||English||A detailed report A reduction in the size or quality of
|Reducing the worth of a yahoo boy|
|16||Legit||English||Legitimate||In the parlance of yahoo boys, Legit is a derivation from the word ‘legitimate’. Yahoo boys use this term to describe their illegal activities as being legal or legitimate. They also use it to express the authenticity of the information they have about clients. This is derived from clipping|
|17||Blow||English||The word blow has many meanings in English none of which includes the one expressed by cyber scammers in Nigeria.||Become successful. Used to describe a situation where a yahoo boy has suddenly recorded a business success. It is common to hear expressions such as ‘mo fẹ bloẃ ” I want to make it big|
|18||Billing||English||Spelling out the amount to be paid for a service rendered or an item bought.||Demanding for money from a victim|
|19||Jazz||English||A genre of music||Charm|
|20||Dye||English||Change the color of a clothing material||Disappoint/dupe/scam|
|21||Client||English||One to whom a service is rendered||A person planned to be duped or scammed|
|22||Address||English||Description of a place where one resides or works, etc||Bank account (details)|
|23||Hottie hottie||English||One who is very
|In yahoo parlance, the word is reduplicated to derive hottie hottie. It refers to a yahoo boy that is currently doing well in the business. The synonym for this phrase in
yahoo parlance is ọmọ better (a better child)
|24||Pósí||Yoruba||Casket||A container, usually a wooden box, in which drinks are brought to yahoo boys at clubhouses. This lexical item is otherwise called ‘àpótí ọrọ’̀ ‘the box of wealth’ as a form of overlexicalisation|
|25||Logistics||English||The careful organization of a complicated activity so that it happens in a successful and effective way||The gradual process by which funds are illegally moved from one account to another.|
Table 4. Semantic extension
|Item||Anti-language/Slangy expression||Source Language||Conventional meaning||Yahoo Business Usage|
|1||Alibaba||–||Alibaba is the nickname of a popular Nigerian stand-up comedy||Getting information about wealthy foreigners, particularly about their credit card details in order to use it order for goods from above|
|2||Papa Ajasco||Papa Ajasco is a popular name in the Nigerian entertainment industry. He is one of the major characters in a regular TV soap opera produced by Wale
|Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) a unit of the Nigeria Police specially saddled with the task of handling cases involving hardened criminals|
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This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., or completely independent – on your own!
The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.
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