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Social Construction of Internet Fraud as Innovation among Youths in Nigeria

Published onApr 25, 2022
Social Construction of Internet Fraud as Innovation among Youths in Nigeria
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Social Construction of Internet Fraud as Innovation among Youths in Nigeria
Description

The proliferation of internet technologies has shaped interactions in contemporary society. Despite the pivotal importance of the internet to the global economy, it has several negative consequences such as internet fraud. This study examined the perception that young adults in Nigeria hold about internet fraud as an innovative means to economic survival rather than as a criminal enterprise. Robert Merton’s Anomie/Strain Theory (AST) was adopted as the theoretical thrust of the study. Adopting a qualitative data collection method, 15 participants were selected using the non-probabilistic purposive and snowballing techniques while opinions were sampled through in-depth interviews in different locations within the Ibadan metropolis of Nigeria. Study findings revealed that youths are engaged in internet fraud mainly to support themselves financially despite harsh economic realities as a form of deviant innovation. The study established that internet fraudsters in Nigeria are socially organized based on specializations. Furthermore, the study established that the accumulation of wealth and “clients” are the major basis for hierarchy. Although there are extant laws on the prohibition and prosecution of internet crimes in Nigeria, the fraudsters claimed that the compromised security apparatus of the state is often manipulated to allow them to continue in the “business”. Only those who do not know their way are prosecuted while successful internet fraudsters gallivant and invest their illegal proceeds in legitimate businesses as cover-ups. The study established the need for value reorientation for youths as well as the creation of jobs.

 

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