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Mohamed, 19, is exchanging messages online with a grey-haired man in Australia."Some of them can give you $US2,000, maybe you tell him you want $US5,000 or 5,000 pounds or ,000 Australian.""Wanna play now? "Wife is late home tonight, I will be here waiting for you.""He wants to play video cam with me to do fun, sex stuff and other things," Mohamed tells Four Corners."He shows me himself naked, full naked.
And I will make sure to make him happy, like he will fall in love with me."Mohamed tells Four Corners he has been doing this since he was 16 to make a living, or sometimes just to earn credit for his phone."Hi babe, just got home and have topped you up with 90 cedis ()," the Australian writes. cant wait for you to come on line."Each time they "play", Mohamed tells his targets his webcam is broken and instead sends videos of the woman he claims to be. I thought we were in the beginning of something long term."It's time for Mohamed to find a new client. With high youth unemployment and cheap internet, online fraud is booming."It's widespread," says Ghana Police cybercrime unit director Dr Herbert Gustav Yankson.
He considers her a prize client."She can't really hear that I don't have an American accent because she's not really a white person," he said."She doesn't have the education and she's not fluent in English, so I was lucky enough to meet somebody who wasn't.
"I proposed to her, and we were getting along but I wanted some capital, so I asked her for money.
“She looked like a model, to be honest, and when we started talking she was so friendly.
These are the foot soldiers in a global scamming enterprise that's breaking hearts and stealing billions of dollars.
According to EOCO's Abu Issah, the cafe boys are ready prey for the global syndicates which have taken hold in Ghana."The big guys make millions of dollars," he said."We have Nigerian nationals and other West African nationals who come here — and definitely they have their Ghanaian collaborators — and they share ideas, making it so sophisticated even to track down."The big fishes send the small boys on an errand to undertake preliminary activities for them and when they give them the feedback as to the victim they've got in touch with, they clamp down on them."So they graduate from the little boys to the big guys in town."This is how, in some cases, victims of romance scams are traded among criminals to be used in much larger crimes, including drug trafficking and money laundering.
The conversation switches gears between declarations of love, sex talk and insistent requests for gifts and money."I really want to come around this Christmas and see you," he says."What about the plane ticket?
In a tiny flat in Ghana, in west Africa, an aspiring entrepreneur trawls Facebook for divorced and widowed women on the other side of the world.
The 27-year-old, who calls himself Kweiku, is searching for 'clients' — scammer parlance for victims who can be conned online into sending money.
In the Whats App groups, criminals advertised Australian bank accounts to launder money and buyers offered to send gifts to Australian romance scam victims. At an outdoor concert in Accra, hundreds of young Ghanians have gathered to dance, listen to music and party.
Scamming can pay well and for Skidoo, it's a brutal bottom line: West African fraudsters are taking what is owed to them."It might be somehow painful seeing someone who is old enough to be your mother going through that but the bottom line still remains, we've got to survive," he said. Rent a store and make it a perfume shop."Help me Lord! Kweiku takes to the stage in front of a small crowd to perform."In 20 years, I want to become a big musician worldwide, a businessman and employ the youth so I can create jobs for the youth because that is the main thing that is holding us back," he said.