Fraudsters in Ghana have been using the Internet for a long time to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims all over the globe. The web has plenty of warnings about the scams, but the truth is that all these alerts are not stopping the scammers. On the contrary, scammers have learned how to evolve and create new and improved methods to accomplish their criminal objectives.
The figures of romance scam can be daunting. The Internet Crime Complaint Center in the United States reported over 14,000 victims of online romance fraud in one year, and the reported losses accounted to 220 million dollars! The above figures correspond only to those who actually filed a report with the IC3, so the real victims and losses are exponentially greater. It is estimated that less than 5% of scam and fraud victims ever report the incident to local or federal law enforcement.
Not every online relationship with someone from Ghana or West Africa is fraud, of course. In years of experience with online fraud and scams, Wymoo investigators have also encountered numerous cases of legitimate individuals and companies operating or residing in West Africa. However, due to the very high risk in the region (Ghana and Nigeria are among the high risk countries in the world for fraud), it is critical to verify any individual or company from or currently in West Africa. Online dating and social media is one of the most popular ways to meet people these days, and no one knows this better than online criminals operating out of Ghana. Organized crime groups have the scam techniques down to a science, and even the most cautious Internet user can fall victim to an experienced online criminal.
Wymoo International conducts professional investigations in over 100 countries, including private investigators in Ghana. Online criminals now have accomplices and networks in many other countries, including the U.S. and U.K., often using U.S. or U.K. phone numbers, assuming real or stolen identities, and creating elaborate online profiles. When a normal person begins to verify the individual or company, everything appears to check out on the Internet. When a trained investigator begins to investigate the case, it is only then that the truth and evidence comes to light.
“It is important though to understand that online romance scams in Ghana are organized crime,” says John Wallace, Director of Background Checks at Wymoo International. As such, there are a lot of dangerous people involved, and anyone can be a victim. Scammers have developed all kinds of tools to cover their tracks online and to support their lies. If you have recently met someone in or from West Africa, it is critical for your safety that you contact a professional to verify.
Another serious problem is that victims do not realize they are dealing with a scammer from Ghana until the relationship is in a very advanced stage. Since Ghana has such a bad reputation, online criminals will often say they are located in other countries, or from other countries. This will avoid suspicion from the beginning and once they have established trust with their victim, it is too late.
Using fake profiles on online dating sites and social networks, including Facebook, Match.com and Linkedin, scammers troll their potential victims and learn about their life and interests. Their research will help them create a bond easier, which will result in a higher success rate. Authorities recommend being alert to any indicator of fraudulent intent. Any relationship begun online is highly susceptible to fraud and manipulation. Professional background check investigations lower that risk.
If you’ve recently met someone via the Internet, speak to one of our investigators today about a proper verification process. Be safe. Get a free quote for a discreet background check.
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