“Bombin & Billin” -What I Learned at Yahoo Boys School

The Yahoo Boys are notorious and growing like wildfire. With a poverty rate of 40% in Nigeria, the loosely formed scamming empire has no problem recruiting kids who want to make big money in scams.

For recruitment, hundreds of “Yahoo Boy Universities” have sprung up everywhere. These are places where young people can work with mentors to learn the tricks of the trade for scamming and even extorting people in the US.

I decided to go to Yahoo Boy University myself— not as a student but as a lurker, soaking in everything I could from these social media meetup locations. I joined groups and channels, got myself a WhatsApp account, and dove right in.

I learned a lot. Here are the Top 10 Things I discovered.

#1 – They Are Recruiting Young Adults, Students and Kids

The Yahoo Boys are growing fast because hundreds of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram groups are recruiting young boys and girls into their army. It’s fairly common for recruiters to look for 70 or more recruits at a time to join their training programs.

Imagine all these elderly people here in the US being scammed by young kids who graduated from these programs. I mean some of the kids in the pictures look like they can’t be older than 13 years old.

Just say “Hi” and score about $30 in US money. These ads are all over social media, promising a small gift for young people who reach out to them. It’s a way to entice new recruits with a small upfront payment.

10,000 Nigerian dollars is about $7.50 by the way. They are not promising $10,000 USD for sure.

#2 – Fake Video Apps Are Now Their Primary Tool

One of the key pieces of tech that appear to be at the center of many of their scams now is “Fake Video Apps.”

They can manipulate these face-swap apps on WhatsApp, Zoom, or Facetime to engage with victims and make them believe that the catfish is real. First, identified back in 2020, Yahoo Boys are creating and selling their own applications directly to scammers or using popular face-swap apps like XpressionCamera to perpetrate the schemes.

#3 – Their Victims Are Called “Clients”

Yahoo boys never refer to the scam victims in a negative light, instead they refer to them as “clients” as if there is some benefit the victim is receiving as part of the arrangement.

Perhaps this is just another way of personalizing the victim so they feel better about all the harm they are doing.

They even have sample letters where you can turn the tables on your clients making them think that they are getting a gift so they are more likely to send their own money.

#4 – They Make Their Programs Turnkey With Scripts That Are Copy and Paste Simple

The Yahoo Boys have fully productionalized the romance scam process and use standard “formats” that require nearly zero effort.

Check out The Smart Lazy Hustler, a teacher who gives an A-Z tutorial on how to commit a dating scam

#5 – They Sell Catfishing Packages With Photos, Video and Even Audio Files

No need to try to create your own Catfish, Yahoo Boy’s sell complete packages of stolen images, and deepfake audio and video that can be used to fool victims.

This might explain why certain US military men and women images are used over and over again to perpetrate romance scams against people worldwide.

Staff Sgt Sherri Vlastuin might be in one of those packages that are sold and resold to new scammers. Her photos and images have been used for years by scammers that appear to follow the Yahoo Boys format.

The Yahoo Boys like to use apps to send fake Voice Notes. Here is a sample video of how they make it work for their “clients”

#6 – Extortion Schemes Are A Big New Area Of Focus

With more realistic deepfake AI, the Yahoo Boys are turning their efforts to more lucrative blackmail and extortion scams.

Most of their attempts will probably find their way into your spam folders, but they are able to use WhatsApp and Facebook messenger to dramatically increase the success rate of these scams.

#7 – They Use Fake Alert Apps To Fool Victims Too

Yahoo Boys love to use Fake Alert apps to hustle money. Fake Alert apps are available for downloading directly to your phone and they can make it appear that a Yahoo Boy has sent money, so that they can get merchandise or cash back from the victim.

Check out this great video that explains their scam.


Exposing the Underbelly of Fake Transfer Fraud ‼️🚨 Have you ever met anyone who was the victim of a fake transfer? If you haven’t, share this video with reckless abandon so that no one you know will ever get robbed by these fraudsters! #faketransfers #bankingfraud #internetscams #kagantech

♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

#8 – They Offer Pictures of Catfishing Models In Hospitals

For Yahoo Boys, it comes down to making money. And they don’t really fool around with anything that doesn’t work – just sticking to the basics.

So going after sympathy is a a big one for them. I liked this picture that Yahoo Boy mentors advise their students to use when they want to get money from a victim. By portraying their catfish model as in the hospital, they are more likely to get money from the victim.

#9 – Fake a Flight. “On My Way To You My Queen”

Every good romance scam has to give the illusion of love, and no better way for a Yahoo Boy to prove it than to pretend that they are coming to visit the victim.

That’s why Yahoo Boys schools will even provide students with pictures to prove that they are on a flight to the victim.

#10 – Bombing, Billing and Cashing Out

At Yahoo University, these are words to live by. These are how Yahoo Boys make money.

Bombing involves hitting up potential victims on any of these sites – Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, Twitter, Hangout, Plenty of Fish (POF), Viber, Match.com, WhatsApp, and Google voice and WhatsApp.

Billing refers to getting your clients to send you gift cards, Cash Apps, wire transfers. Whatever it takes, just get the money.

Cash-out refers to to getting those funds into your pocket and making the money.

In Yahoo Schools, you have graduated when you know how to hustle and do these three things effectively.