Birds of a Feather Flock Together: The Nigerian Cyber Fraudsters (Yahoo Boys) and Hip Hop Artists
Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society, 19 (2), P. 63-80, 2018
Posted: 12 Oct 2018
Date Written: 2018
This study sets out to examine the ways Nigerian cyber-fraudsters (Yahoo-Boys) are represented in hip-hop music. The empirical basis of this article is lyrics from 18 hip-hop artists, which were subjected to a directed approach to qualitative content analysis and coded based on the moral disengagement mechanisms proposed by Bandura (1999). While results revealed that the ethics of Yahoo-Boys, as expressed by musicians, embody a range of moral disengagement mechanisms, they also shed light on the motives for the Nigerian cybercriminals' actions. Further analysis revealed additional findings: “glamorization/de-glamorization of cyber-fraud” and “sex-roles-and-cultures”. Having operated within the constraint of what is currently available (a small sample size), this article has drawn attention to the notion that Yahoo-Boys and some musicians may be “birds of a feather.” Secondly, it has exposed a “hunter-and-antelope-relationship” between Yahoo-Boys and their victims. Thirdly, it has also highlighted that some ethos of law-abiding citizens is central to Yahoo-Boys’ moral enterprise. Yahoo-Boys, therefore, represent reflections of society. Arguably, given that Yahoo-Boys and singers are connected, and the oratory messages of singers may attract more followers than questioners, this study illuminates the cultural dimensions of cyber-fraud that emanate from Nigeria. In particular, insights from this study suggest that cyber-fraud researchers might look beyond traditional data sources (e.g., cyber-fraud statistics) for the empirical traces of “culture in action” that render fraudulently practices acceptable career paths for some Nigerian youths.
Keywords: Youth Culture and Popular Music, Yahoo Boys and Cyber Criminology, Neutralization Techniques, Advance Fee Fraud and Organised Crime, Moral Disengagement Mechanisms, Glamorization of Cybercrime, Sex Roles, Victims of Romance Scam, Cyberpsychology
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