Crime really does pay... in Nigeria

When I was fourteen, I had dreams of becoming a millionaire. I wanted to live in a huge mansion, have one Porsche or Ferrari for each day of the week and live off Dr. Pepper and pizza. Well, it looks as though a fourteen year old boy in Nigeria had dreams of being a millionaire as well -- the only thing is that he actually became one.

Akin, a resident of Lago, Nigeria, is the main bread-winner for his family and he does so by scamming people over the Internet. He uses stolen credit cards to buy high dollar electronics and then has the items shipped to safe houses in Europe. Akin has figured out -- as have many of us who daily have to skip over Nigerian email scams -- that most Americans with enough going on upstairs aren't going to fall for Nigerian "deals" anymore. This explains the brief layover in Europe before the loot is actually shipped to Lagos. CNN Money/FORTUNE reports:

And he's not alone: The cafe is crowded most of the time with other teenagers, like Akin, working for a "chairman" who buys the computer time and hires them to extract e-mail addresses and credit card information from the thin air of cyberspace. Akin's chairman, who is computer illiterate, gets a 60 percent cut and reserves another 20 percent to pay off law enforcement officials who come around or teachers who complain when the boys cut school. That still puts plenty of cash in Akin's pocket.

Akin gets a 20% cut of the profits and still makes millions? That's quite a haul for someone his age. It's interesting that I know of another young man who started a thriving hardware review site at about age 14 and went to make quite a decent living, only he did it the legit way.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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