Internet scams originating from Ghana and West Africa have been around for quite a while. Local Ghana investigators and international police and authorities have been fighting internet fraud from Ghana for a long time, trying to track down the scammers and alerting the public about the risks. Far from shrinking the problem, the amount of people in Ghana who choose online fraud as means to earn a living continues to increase. But why?
Certain circumstances favor the growth of this industry. For one part, Ghana has almost 12 million people with access to the internet. Combine internet access, ease of communicating in English (its official language is English), limited formal education opportunities and poverty, and you will have the perfect recipe for internet scams. It is a lucrative business for those with no morals. Despite having an economy that is growing at unprecedented rates, the real impact on the population is not immediate and unfortunately it doesn’t reach everyone.
For a long time, Ghana was an impoverished country with an economy based on cocoa exports. Famine was a real problem until the economy shifted to focus on another commodity: oil. While Ghana’s prosperity is closely tied to the oil markets, it remains one of the largest exporters of gold in the world. However, the blossoming of the economy with oil and gold is not necessarily translated into improved conditions for the least favored. Inequality and unemployment continue to be serious issues in the country that enhance the creation of criminal structures like the ones seen in online romance scams. For those who are desperate, scamming is tempting.
There is another important factor as well. Online fraud has already penetrated Ghana’s culture, to the point that many young people prefer to dedicate their time and effort to this lifestyle, rather than to pursue other less profitable and more uncertain activities. Ghana romance scams pay very well, and the years of experience have led them to achieve a very well structured and successful business. It is organized crime with studied tactics that have been proven effective, and criminals work in groups using virtual private networks (VPNs) and internet cafes.
Ghana fraudsters have elaborated scamming schemes that have evolved in time to defraud and outsmart even big corporations. There are many attempts to stop these criminals, including coordinated law enforcement efforts between the Ghana and American authorities. Sadly, it is not so easy to tackle complex internet fraud networks, especially when fraudsters use efficient methods to remain anonymous and when a great part of the victims does not even report the incident to authorities. Ghana law enforcement and the U.S. Embassy in Accra receive hundreds of complaints every single week, and have no way to investigate them all.
What can people do to help stop the scammers and not be a victim?
We will continue repeating time and again: prevention is the most effective tool. If you meet someone online who claims to be from Ghana, to be temporarily there or to have ties with someone in Ghana, hire a reputable private investigation company with professional investigators to verify the facts and obtain real evidence. A dating background check is an investment in your own peace of mind and the most effective tool to help others stay safe. The more people realize that obtaining evidence is the smartest way to go, the less profit will criminals have, and the least chances that someone else will be defrauded.
There is no foreseeable end to Ghana scams or internet crime from West Africa, unless potential victims start to care more about prevention. One victim less means less profit for the criminal, and more chances to alert others about the scam.
If you meet someone online, regardless of what they claim their location or origin is, hire an online dating verification from a professional private investigation company, with real investigators. Evidence is the key to staying safe and making smart decisions.
Contact us for a free quote and we will be glad to help!
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