A cross examination of the global perspective on 'yahooism'(cyber crimes and fraud)and yahooist (perpetrator), is tantamount to consideration and examination of same.
“Yahooism” is an act of cyber crime that defrauds unsuspecting victims in foreign countries of their hard – earned money. In some instances, the unsuspecting victim is used to defraud banks, postal agencies, shops, etc. The yahooist (perpetrator) sends fake cheques or postal money orders to victims in either of the following countries: Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom and other European Countries, Asia as the case maybe. When the cheques or money order are cashed, the victim is told to send the money through western union money transfer in Nigeria, in other cases, the victim may be told to send the money to another country were the yahooist has built networks over time. The mode of money collection is usually dependent on the modus oparandi the yahooists chooses to use.
The paramount classification of yahooism as a branch of cyber crime and transnational crime is not only expedient in understanding its mystery and in propounding a lasting solution when considering curbing the menace. Yahooism is the fastest growing transnational crime in recent time, especially in Nigeria. Suffice it to say that, in its classification with advance fee fraud, its major differentiating factor lies in the innocence of the yahoo - victim, and the gullibility of the advance fee fraud - victim. Although, most criminals are dropping advance fee fraud and embracing yahooism because of its broad spectrum.
In Nigeria today, cyber crimes has found its roots in the society. Like a cankerworm it has eaten deeply in the society and finally been accepted by thesame society. It is difficult to deny youth support of the menace with yahoozee shirts, yahoozee dance steps, yahoozee songs from the likes of Olu Maintain and even some young people identify themselves as yahoo boys and girls.
The major implication of the conscious unconscious acceptance of this menace in the Nigerian society in the nearest future is high level of dis-interest in education and touting among young people. In the long run, there would be more 'physically organized crimes', when the criminal network is explored, ranging from cheap assasinations, armed robbery, terrorism, drug trafficking and 'cronic' corruption. Corruption is gradually institutionalizing itself, presenting protection for her ex-government officials and in the prosecution of the nations former speaker of the national assembly on the six hundred and twenty eight million naira contract scam. Suffice it to note that public prosecutors have been recommended and nominated by corrupt caucuses in other to protect the interest of people who looted national and state treasury. This is acheived through legal frameworks. People who have contributed to the death of many Nigerians, as a result of failed or poorly implemented policies that would have brought about good and accessible roads, better primary health care delivery system and functional educational facilities to enhance learning.
Corruption and Crime is evolutionary changing, if the networking involved in yahooism and the immaturity of the yahooist are explored, exploited and properly structured it would be easier for structurally organized crime groups like the Italian Mafia, Japanese Yakuza, Chinese triads who have heavy presence in North America, Japan, United States and other countries to tap and explore the unexplored network of the yahooist in Nigeria for their clandestine and impious agenda.
According to Lupsha’s useful stages of crime development, From the Predatory to Parasitic and to Symbiotic stage. Lupsha opined that, the predatory stage is when street gangs or other local crime groups use criminal violence to maintain dominance over a territory, to eliminate enemies, and to create monopoly with the illicit use of force. Criminal acts at the predatory stage tend to be directed at immediate rewards and satisfaction, rather than long range plans or goals. Although, yahooism and the yahooist have grown beyond the Predatory stage because of its long range planed reward system of involvement.
At the parasitical stage, they develop a corruptive interaction with legitimate power sectors, and mold their control of a territorial base with the broker’s need for illicit services. Lupsha emphasized that at the parasitical stage, there usually needs to be a “window of opportunity” through which the gang can pass to emerge as a fully – fledged organized crime group. In Nigeria, the “window” has already been opened – cyber crimes (yahoo – yahoo) and there has also been interaction between brokers and politicians, who attain power through some cyber criminals financial supports, especially at the local government levels.
These befitting “window” has levels of organization. Each level has its own category or level of influence before the circle of crime would be successful. At one stage, it involves the yahooist sourcing for a victim who at times can be gullible or an innocent person attempting to render assistance. This depends on the method used by the yahooist. In another stage, it involves brainstorming, and maintenance of the relationship with the victim, consultations are made among yahooist, information is gathered and materials like the counterfeit cheques, money orders are sent to the victim for cashing.
The final stage involves receiving the money from the cashed cheque or money order. This stage encompasses a greater network which may involve bankers or bank manager, who clears the yahooist with false identity. In other instances were huge sums of dollars are involved, an account of a multi national is provided, so that the Financial Intelligence unit would not suspect such transfer as a result of the high level of transfers and lodgments made in and out of the accounts on daily basis. Sometimes, the money may travel to different countries or continents before hitting its final destination; this is so that the process would break traces. The signatories to these accounts who are usually business moguls often have a percentage from the benefits of the fraud proceeds.
The parasitical stage gives us an insight as to the networking involved in the crime, and how easy the “window of opportunity” inherent can pose a tremendous threat to our society in the short run. It is threatening because, the power brokers, ruling class, politicians and terrorists groups can exploit these organized skills, network to create monopolies, scarcity, political violence and corruption, bad leaders into power and havoc in the society.
Lushpa wrote that the symbiotic stage is the stage of acceptance meaning that crimes, businesses and political system grows into mutuality. The politicians and the people they govern become used – to and dependent on the parasite – the monopolies and networks of the organized crimes for sustenance.
Many are of the opinion that cyber crimes and fraud does not affect them in Nigeria, as a result, they care less about its activities. But the truth of the matter is when crime reaches the symbiotic stage, it is no longer a law enforcement problem, it is a matter of national security and economic threat.
In considering national, regional and global security as public relations professional, it is pertinent to inform us that cyber crime or yahooism posses a threat to global peace and conflict resolution in these phase of rising advocacy for globalization and liberalization of economies. If we must practice the aforementioned in its totality as well as maintain peace internationally, International organizations (UN, ECOWAS, AU, EU), governments, professionals in the security sector, prolific writers and scholars must also move from the unadventurous approach to the adventurous by considering cyber crimes and fraud as a threat to global peace and conflict resolution.
IF the United Nations publication which states among others that its purpose is for maintaining international peace and security and to develop friendly relations among nations based on the principles of equal right and self – determination of peoples. Then there must be a need for these international organizations to strengthen regional organizations that would in turn equip governments and its agencies like the EFCC and ICPC as well as NGOs and CSOs. To make laws, fasten investigation and prosecution processes as well as man an effective campaign against the menace.
Mbasekei Martin Obono
Lagos, Nigeria 234-1-7402451, 234- 08037987515