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29.01.2007 General News

419 romance scams bite lustful foreigners

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As Japanese man screams after loosing over US3,000 dollars to a Ghanaian internet lover, another foreigner lampoons Ghana Police, GT & Ghana Post

A new Internet fraud or 419 business that involves persons claiming to be ladies looking for love duping their unsuspecting foreign suitors is gaining notoriety in Ghana.

The process involves the supposed ladies posting pictures (probably not themselves) on the Internet looking for love. Unsuspecting men who start communicating with the supposed are later convinced to send thousands of dollars to the pretty lady whose picture they've seen on the internet to visit.

After the monies are wired for visas, medical report, airline ticket etc, the supposed ladies stop communicating with their man.

A disappointed Japanese man Takeo Takahashie, who though his love life can better be ignited through an Internet union, has in an email communication with the dailyEXPRESS expressed outrage at how he has been defrauded of over $3,000 through a well orchestrated internet romance scam.

Another gentleman Lindsay Roberts who also hooked up to a purported lover and later defrauded is now crying foul and accusing the Ghana Police and Ghana Post of a lack of cooperation.

Describing how he was defrauded, Takeo Takahashie who wired a total of $3,045 to his supposed Ghanaian lover between December 6th & 28th 2006 said “I met her on the internet since one month ago. We talked everyday by the internet and phone. Also she sent medical report, passport, visa and police report to me. She send them as attachment. Then I believed her. She wants to come to Japan because we get married.”

“First I transfer 1,745USD to travel agent…. Second I transfer 1,300USD to Western Union, then she got the money at Accra. Finally, she said I got the airplane ticket which is AZ847 at 29th from Accra and AZ786 at 30th from Milan. But she did not make a reservation. I understood that, because I called Alitalia airline and I asked them. Currently I can not reach them” he continued.

The supposed lover (details have been forwarded to the police) who owns what appears to be an authentic Ghanaian passport, a phony medical report in her name and what appears to be a fake Japanese visa received the first transfer through an account at a prominent bank in Accra. dailyEXPRESS checks have confirmed the existence of the account name and number at the said bank.

Takahashi who hooked up with his 'lover' through an Internet dating site in November 2006 says several attempts to reach her supposed girlfriend after the transfers have failed with all the supplied telephone numbers inactive & emails not replied.

Lindsay Roberts on his part is angry after loosing $2,300 to a supposed 30-year old lover Mary Malik who stays at Achimota with her mother, brother and several orphan friends.

“I thought I was helping out a poor Ghanaian, when all I was doing was getting scammed. In order to get them to quit living off me every month, I tried to set them up in a taxi business, but soon there was a "terrible accident". Through a heartbreaking story of police after her, etc., I was scammed out of $700. Then, angry and wanting to be paid back, I invested in a "rental car for the tourist agency" business. I thought I was going into business in Ghana! Little did I know that the whole thing was just a massive scam. I also shipped a camera to Ghana, which reportedly never got there, but apparently did get there and was stolen.”

Already angered by the scam, Lindsay Roberts appears frustrated after his inability to make any progress in locating his 'lover thief' through the postal boxes, telephone numbers and assistance from the police.

“The Ghanaian police never returned several emails I sent to them either. Even the Nigerian police are starting to answer our emails. I recommend that the Ghanaian police answer emails from concerned Westerners who are worried they may be scammed out of Ghana. Ghana is getting an undeserved reputation for fraud due mostly to Nigerians in the country. It would be worthwhile for the Ghanaian police and government to ameliorate these worries by existing so that we can contact them and check "Ghanaians" out.”

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