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Romance Scam Research Center

2018: UK: 419 – It's just a Game: Pathways to Cyber-Fraud Criminality emanating from West Africa

Whitty, Monica T.  International Journal of Cyber Criminology; Thirunelveli Vol. 12, Iss. 1, (Jan-Jun 2018): 97-114. DOI:10.5281/zenodo.1467848

Abstract: "Cyber-enabled mass-marketing frauds (e.g., romance scam, investment scam, 419) are believed to emanate from West Africa, especially from Nigeria. There has been some research and speculation about the reasons why cyberfraud might especially propagate from this region. This paper conducts a critical review of existing literature to consider how much we can attribute culture as a cause and enabler of this type of crime as well as West Africans, with a heavy focus on Nigerians' pathways to cyberfraud criminality. It is concluded that some cultural factors are important to consider (e.g., social and historical factors, social identity and attitudes towards this form of crime). However, a word of caution is made here to not overstate how the ' West African cultural explanation' as the reason for why this criminal activity has flourished in this region. Taking previous work into consideration, a theoretical framework is proposed to set out the pathways to cyberfraud criminality and the paper sets out a way forward in the development of successful disruption and prevention strategies."

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