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I told Michael I wanted to interview his scammer friends. But I figured I’d be doing a public service by distracting the scammers from conning old folks for a couple hours.He said there was no way that his dudes would talk for less than 0. So I offered 0 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.For thousands of people each year, the search for love online ends not just with a broken heart, but an empty bank account.So-called romance scams — in which fraudsters smother victims with professions of love then plead for large “loans” to cover invented emergencies — appear to be on the rise, according to federal law enforcement and fraud experts.
A few months later John had to travel to Africa for business — a common ruse that signals the start of trouble.But Michael* also grew up a “street boy,” meaning he was able to make fast friends in the slum villages and farming communities we visited.He put himself through college, and after working as a Nigerian soap opera actor and door-to-door men’s clothing salesman, he clawed his way into journalism.“I saw my 60-year-old Colorado man, and he was a college kid in Ghana,” Joanna said. He told Joanna he’d really fallen in love with her.Instead she reported him to the local sheriff and the FBI.