Cyber Crime in Ivory Coast could effect you

S3 Mackie Pupils have been learning about poverty in Africa
S3 Mackie Pupils have been learning about poverty in Africa

S3 pupils at Mackie Academy have been studying poverty in Africa and have been tasked to write a news article which would interest local readers.

The Modern Studies class has been learning about current issues Africa but also touch on broader issues such as education, health human rights.

Over the next few weeks we’ll bring you some of the best articles written by the S3 pupils. Amber Blanksma wrote the following:

At this time of year, love is being pursued and spread by many. Some people are so warmed by the thought that they are oblivious to con-artists scamming people over dating sites and the Internet every day.

Some cyber criminals in Ivory Coast see this as a great advantage when manipulating unsuspecting victims into handing over money.

In Ivory Coast more complaints are made about cyber crimes than anywhere else in Africa, over 50% of these complaints coming from France. Most criminals are around 16-17 years of age and are making large sums of money every month.

On average these cyber criminals make around £8000 a month; making “good” use of Ivory Coasts’ fast, cheap Internet.

The BBC spoke to one of these money-makers to find out more. The anonymous young man explained the most effective way of earning money, the “love method”. First someone seeking a romantic relationship must be found. The criminal would lure the naive person into a relationship.

They spend time building trust in their victim by sending photos and getting to know them, before coming up with a story, that they require money for something. A common example is that they want to travel over and meet in person.

Often the ignorant victim will fall for this trap and after the money is handed over the criminal will disappear out of sight of their unsuspecting victim.

As you may have gathered this can be a big issue for many people who are victims, and the government who are expected to do something about this.

Many individuals, linked together through the internet, are trying to tackle this problem in a very positive manner. Looking for people in internet cafés, they teach them about legal methods of earning money through technology and the internet.

This is a good attempt at reducing the problem, but it does need further support, perhaps through harsher methods. The government seems to be making a different kind of approach.

They gather digital evidence to associate a certain device with a certain criminal. They made almost 100 arrests, regarding cyber crime, in 2013 alone, which shows good progress. Let’s hope that no one else falls for the “love method” and no more Valentines’ Days get ruined by these scammers.