West africa dating scams
In her research in Ghana, Burrell encountered a number of young non-elite Ghanaians pursuing another approach to the Internet’s promise of prosperity: online scamming.The most familiar example may be the so-called “419” email scam.Burrell tells a story of a burgeoning online friendship between Fauzia, a young Ghanaian woman, and an Egyptian man.While chatting online, Fauzia mentioned “ok, my phone is giving me problems and I will be very grateful if you could send me money to get a better phone or if you could send me a new phone.” After repeating the request, “I didn’t see him online again,” said Fauzia.One young Ghanaian, Gabby, got the idea to pursue online scamming from his friends. “Sometimes I would accompany them to the banks for the money.” Rather than email scams, Gabby’s preferred methodology was the online dating scam, colloquially referred to as the ‘come-and-marry’ scam.Gabby and other young scammers would frequent online chatrooms or dating websites, building relationships with amorous foreigners.
Although Ghana’s elite already had Internet access and international connections, the more widespread availability of public Internet cafés provided the first opportunity for many ordinary Ghanaians — especially youth — to interact with the wider world.
Typically, the young male Ghanaians would assume a fictional female persona online, attempting to lure a foreign boyfriend.
Once the “boyfriend” was properly seduced, the scammer would invent a scenario.
He had diversified his gains, investing in the local music industry and renting out two trucks he had acquired.
These youth, disillusioned with the possibility of forging authentic connections with foreigners, instead sought attention through misrepresentation; their Internet scams demonstrating increasingly clever strategies of social engineering.