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One of the victims, who is based in Switzerland, tells Al Jazeera that he lost much of his life's savings in an Ivorian scam."First it was a simple email I found in my inbox.
She was telling me of business opportunities in the Ivory Coast and how she could help me get a cheaper and faster licence to operate in the country," Steve Widmer says."She even sent some money [to me] for DHL fees to send my documents faster so she could submit them with her uncle at the ministry of commerce, which I did.
Our fear is growing that they could become role models for other youths," he says.
The Ivorian government has set up a special forensic police unit, Plateforme de Lutte Contre la Cybecriminalité (PLCC).
The scammer would begin chatting with the victim and start exchanging pictures and messages.
So this is a very serious situation that we are bent on tackling." In 2012, all mobile phone companies and internet service providers in Ivory Coast were asked to identify their customers to enable traceability.
The whole thing took more than a year and we later became good friends even without meeting each other.