As a Nigerian youth who's felt the pressure of actually taking part in such scams, I can tell you that there are numerous reasons why youths engage in such things but the primary reason, or better yet, the one which all other reasons stem from is the general lack of opportunity in Africa.
We're told that if we graduate from college with a good grade, that jobs will be waiting for us. We were told that as long as we work hard and put our heads down to read then we'll definitely be successful in life, but like all of us soon come to find out, it's all a lie. If you don't have anyone that's like a godfather to you in your field then getting a good job can be quite difficult.
Youths keep applying for jobs and keep getting rejected because the ones deserving of the position are overtaken by the ones who know the people who are in charge of giving those jobs, at the end of the day what you have a reason frustrated youths who have no source of income and then the next thing to do is to fall into a life of crime or in this case, internet fraud.
The worst part is that if you somehow manage to even get a job, people who are actually perpetrating internet fraud get so much money from it that they make making an honest living look like a stupid thing to do. I've seen people quit their jobs and start doing internet fraud because they felt they were being oppressed financially by those doing it, i.e the "Gee boys" as they're commonly called.
The lack of infrastructure in Africa to support the growing population of unemployed graduates is the sole reason for this problem. Now the problem itself births the problem of jealous and unsatisfied youths who would go so far as to make human sacrifices just to make sure that their internet fraud is successful.
The youths that engage in it often feel like it's their only way out and although it disgusts me that they steal from unsuspecting foreigners instead of looking for something legal to do for money, I can't blame them. The system, no the continent made it so.
I hope this helps.
You know, this is an excellent question and I think the question itself is a clue to the answer. So let's start like this. Why is yahoo more common among the young African youths than the older more experienced men.
A few months ago, I asked a question about the effects of social media on the quarter-life crisis that most youths face. The answer was that while it isn't the cause of quarter-life crisis, it makes it worse than it is supposed to be. quarter-life crisis is the feeling most youths get in their twenties where they are confused about what direction to take with their lives and generally feeling like time isn't enough for everything. The feeling that time isn't enough is very common among youths. I don't know if it has always been so but I know that right now, people plan to be rich by twenty five and more often than not, are still jobless at that age. Then we have social media which is the explosive catalyst in this situation.
Social media was made to connect the entire world socially and create a space where people could meet the whole world from their bedroom. But like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages. People began to mingle online and as a result they began to discover that there were those around the world who were their age and doing by far better than them. The effects of this realization were terrible and as a result, people began to live "fake lives" online. It's known world wide that majority of the people on social media are from the younger generations. So combining this hunger for another person's life with the quarter-life crisis that most of us are going through has led to a desperation for money and a feeling that there isn't enough time to make it. Thus our "yahoo boys" problem.
This is the chief cause of the scamming problem that we have in the country and in the continent as a whole. Anytime I answer a question related to this, I always talk about a small experience my brother had. He's the other guy who answered this question so you know who I'm talking about. He's a hard working fellow. Just started his NYSC and is doing okay for someone at his point in life. One day he told me he blocked a few of his high school classmates on instagram and I asked why. He said they always posted pictures of money and stuff like that and seeing it made him feel like he wasn't doing enough and he had to find a way to make more money faster. He didn't like feeling that way so he blocked them. Not out of jealousy but because he knew he was working hard and he didn't want to see anything that would make him feel like his efforts weren't enough. That feeling is something that a lot of people experience but not everyone has the wisdom to do what my brother did. Scamming is wrong and I condemn it. But I also understand where they are coming from. Faced with what we see on social media what we feel because of the quarter-life crisis and the lack of jobs in the country, many are desperate to make money. It is not an excuse but it is a reason. I hope no one I ever know scams or gets scammed and I certainly hope that I never become so desperate as to have no other choice but to take part in such.