He did not send money for me.” “Because you love me, then you say, ‘Okay,'” Sheye interrupts. I keep on enjoying with my girls here.” He laughs wildly.Over the past decade or so, the United States has cracked down on Nigerian Internet scams.If the mark is worthwhile, the scammer works up “a level of trust,” Danjuma continues.“Maybe the person doesn’t have a husband, and the person is looking for a husband in Nigeria.He said there was no way that his dudes would talk for less than $600. So I offered $100 for a rare glimpse at the human faces behind the syntax-challenged spam. I sat down with Sheye and Danjuma* on the back patio of a fancy duplex in an upscale neighborhood in one of the country’s main cities, and the two dished on their craft, constantly interrupting each other as they downed bottles of Nigerian Star lager and chain-smoked.Though they lie for a living, Sheye insisted, “We are telling you the fact and the truth.” Sheye and Danjuma have a name for the advance-fee email scams, in which victims agree to to send money to a stranger, banking on the promise of love or fast money.
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Before that, he used to hang out with nomadic cow-herding kids, children who sell bottled water by the roadside, and budding scam artists.Ten years ago, Sheye and Danjuma, who are both in their mid-30s, say they could make up to 2 million naira—about $12,000—per Yahoo job, but the “US are very wise” now, Sheye says.They typically only make about $200 per “client” these days, though they know other scammers who still rake in millions of naira through the email schemes.It involves a taxi cab, a “juju man,” magic charms, and a huge bag of cash (and it’s way too complicated to explain here).