70-year-old widow thought she found love again but lost over R1.3 million to 'Yahoo Boys'

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  • Over the years, there has been a crime ring of Nigerian men who scam people called Yahoo Boys.
  • They target those who are either recently retired, widowed, lonely or vulnerable.
  • They pretend to have a love interest with their victims and later convince them to send them money. Here, a victim warns others.

Scammers come in many different forms, from those who pretend to offer job opportunities to those faking investment schemes where money is never returned.

This 70-year-old widow lost over R1 million to scammers called Yahoo Boys and now is trying to warn others of this group who take money from vulnerable women with their love scams. 

READ MORE | 'How I knew I matched with a scammer on a dating site'

According to The Conversation, members of this group are undergraduates from Nigerian universities who dabble in internet fraud. They got their nickname from the international web portal and search engine Yahoo.

Some of these men have become filthy rich, while others have been caught. The 70-year-old, a widow from North Texas, has become one of more than two dozen women targeted.

READ MORE | Scammed R55 000 by online 'boyfriend' and is ready to give up on love – dating coach weighs in

"I fell for it; it's embarrassing. I'm not a stupid person but believe me, they've got their act together," says the widow who thought she found love but instead lost $75 000 (R1 361 182) to the scammers. The ringleader, 43-year-old Ifeanyichukwu Obi, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

"They were ready for me. They had a lot of documents ready to make themselves seem official," the woman adds. In 2019, Colleyville police were tipped off about suspicious activity at a UPS store

READ MORE | Quitting dating apps after being threatened for calling a scammer out: 'It is just plain scary'

Police officer sergeant Dara Nelson says, "They had an elderly customer who brought numerous packages containing cash to their location, shipping it to different addresses."

The detective determined that this person was being scammed by someone who wasn't who they said they were. "These people prey on elderly widows or widowers," the sergeant added.

Scammers develop intimate relationships over social media and, down the line, convince their lovers to send them cash. 

They were able to determine a crime ring of four individuals in the DFW area laundering this money, Dara added.

READ MORE | 'My dating app scammer wanted me to perform a ritual but I saw through the act and escaped'

Obi sent more than $1.3 million (over R23 million) of stolen money to Nigeria over two months in 2019. He also bought trucks, and investigators identified more than 2 dozen victims.

"It's definitely a large crime ring that spans across multiple countries," Dara said. The widow said her scammer convinced her after weeks of talking he was getting a big work contract, but until then, he needed a loan.

"It was such a big deal, I even had my church ladies pray for his success at getting this contract," she adds. "Prosecutors are still working on the case of three others who are being indicted, so be really aware of who you are talking to online." 

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