The Sakawa Boys: Internet Scamming in Ghana

2011 ,    »  -   36 Comments
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Ratings: 6.71/10 from 63 users.
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The Sakawa Boys: Internet Scamming in Ghana

Fraudsters in Ghana show us how they use internet scams to steal thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims all over the globe.

While Nigeria's scammers may have written the book on West African internet fraud, their shtick looks like CompuServe compared to what's going on in Ghana.

Unsatisfied with the meager winnings from emailing thousands of random Westerners in hopes of convincing one poor sap they're the treasurer of the Ivory Coast, Ghana's scammers decided to stack the odds in their favor the old-fashioned way - witchcraft.

Taking a page from cyberpunk, traditional West African Juju priests adapted their services to the needs of the information age and started leading down-on-their-luck internet scammers through strange and costly rituals designed to increase their powers of persuasion and make their emails irresistible to greedy Americans.

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36 Comments / User Reviews

  1. wald0

    I had one of these guys from Ghana try to convince me that someone had died there with the same last name I had and since no one was collecting the inheritance this rich person was leaving behind I could. His mistake was contacting me at work, I worked as a data analyst for Motorola at the time. Long story short the guy kept calling me at work, making management really angry. Finally the FBI was called and got involved and i guess the guy forgot to go see his JU-JU captain cause he got locked up. They took over my email account and converse with the guy pretending to be me and eventually convinced this clown to meet them. He probably thought he would just roll the stupid American when I showed up and get what ever i had on me, I don't know. In my opinion he got what he deserved. I have all the compassion in the world for being poor, not having the necessities of life, I've been through it myself. But I never once, not even when i was eating out of garbage cans, tried to take what some else had worked for by force or trickery. Maybe if i had been close to death that would have changed, but these guys don't look as if they are starving to me. They have simply found a way to justify theft and dishonesty and now that is how the prefer to make their living, much easier than figuring out a legitimate way to feed yourself.

  2. oQ

    This tells me that you first had an interest towards the offer on the net for the guy to know where to call you at work (i may be wrong). What they do, is try to pray on people that are willing to go for the scam (even for just a minute) even though it's a scam towards someone to start with.
    Ya, the guy might be in jail, a jail in Ghana is kind of a walled square, lower in status than a beaten dog's house in rural America.
    I figure the best way to fight it, is to ignore it.
    1i

  3. TheDanishViking

    Good watch.

  4. Trevis Robotie

    Greed makes you weak...they feed on your greed!don't even look at the offer....learnt my lesson the hard way in Naples....Mercato Piazza Garibaldi,Nikon camera turned out a red brick !

  5. dmxi

    escaping poverty justifies measures & so long one does it without a weapon or any other physical/psychological harm has my blessings.
    - "shoplifters of the world unite !" -
    - a smith -

  6. Highlander

    Good for you Waldo ! Screw the thieving bastards and if jail is sh*te in Ghana, too bad. Perhaps some will learn a hard lesson. Why am I so "anti" these guys? cos I am normally a trusting person and I had my computer wrecked by these b*stards a couple of years ago. Their thieving , parasitic methods of making money from those of us who do not steal from our brothers needs to be stamped on. This world has enough mistrust and these characters just add to the growing mistrust of each man to his neighbour.

  7. byronikus

    "why does he throw eggs?", "he likes eggs." "oh.." XD

  8. Holst

    LoL Wald0, you are one of those people that no matter what the subject matter is it's happened to you or you went through the same situation etc. Always slightly embellished to be more dramatic.It always brings a smile to my face. I always look forward to reading your comments :D

  9. wald0

    As far as i know this is the firs doc. I have ever watched that was exactly about something that happened to me personally. I mean sure there are docs about addiction and i used to be an addict, there are docs about chemistry, and that happens to be my field of study. But I hardly think that means I have claimed to personally experience every thing each doc is about. There are several of us that are regular posters on this site. If you hang around you'll see we posts something on almost every doc. Yes, I have lots of opinions but if you'll notice almost every post I write clearly sates that that is all I profess it to be- my opinion. If you enjoy it don't knock it, if you don't get over it and express your own.

  10. IndustryOfBlame

    Totally loled at 13;14

    No space robot movies in Ghana what the hell?!

    I think these Sakawa people are much like stock brokers and bank executives. They contribute nothing to society, yet expect a great deal of payment for what they do. Despite this, they are still widely considered to be honest businessmen.

  11. wald0

    Yeah, your right. I am ashamed to say it but at the time I had just conned my way into a job with Motorola, having no experience nor education in net working, how to analyze data (basically designing spread sheets with Excel), nor call center operations. I was about twenty years old and fresh out of jail, had never even been on line but maybe once. This guy hits my work email and even though i was suspicious I had never heard of email scams. In fact this was my first email account ever, i was still learning what it was and how it worked. Anyway I give the guy the name of the place I worked and where it was in conversation, I'm sure he wanted the info for the purpose of his scam but i have no idea what exactly he was up to and i don't remember how he got me to tell him. Any way he calls me the next day and work takes over from there. They notify the FCC, who monitors our international calls and email traffic anyway- something to do with making sure we don't do business nor exchange information with certain embargoed countries. From there all i can say is what i heard through my bosses, it was out of my hands at that point. Lost my Gmail account over it, I mean I set up another I just lost my address. But I also learned about email scams I guess.

    This was twenty years ago now though, so really I doubt it had anything to do with this particular craze. I just thought it was relevant because the guy was from Ghana, or at least that is what he said in the emails, and it was email scam. Obviously the email fraud business has been thriving there for quite sometime now. That or its one heck of a coincidence.

    According to the people I worked for they first convince you that you can get this money. Then they hit you up for all these legal fees they say you must pay before the state will release the money.Apparently some people send thousands before they realize its a scam and then are scared to admit they were involved because 1. they are embarrassed they fell for it, and 2. They were trying to get some dead guys money that they knew they were not kin to, they are scared of conspiracy charges, whether the money exists or not.

  12. oQ

    When you travel through parts of Africa, it is common to be offered these types of deals and other kinds.

    All they did is stretch their reach accross the world.

    The best way to respond is to refuse/ignore/delete the same way one would refuse on the street....straight forward.

    Then the scam stops.

    But i can see 20 yrs ago, it was an new approach not yet fully incorporated in the exercise of communication.
    1i

  13. OyVey

    You had a gmail account 20 years ago? Uh-huh...
    So, are you a time-traveler, man? Because Gmail has only been around for 9 years, 6 to the public.

  14. Elizabeth Wesley

    I had someone trell me I had inherited a large sum of money from Africa and I told him if I didn't earn it I didn't want it.

  15. Pysmythe

    Pretty sure the one time he mentions gmail must've been a typo...

  16. OyVey

    Investigate his post history more. Seems much more likely that he's simply a pathological liar.

  17. tomregit

    My first encounter with African email cons was around 10/12 years ago with the Nigerian 419 scams. I have no grudge against these people but also no sympathy.

    If one chooses, it can be an entertaining waste of time to play the scammer as well. As long as your information is reasonably secure, with very little effort, the scam artist can be led down a rabbit hole and and played like a small trout (mixed metaphor alert :0) for your own amusement.

  18. Trevis Robotie

    I love Waldo :D

  19. Trevis Robotie

    guess what he'd throw if he loved money....ahaha

  20. Reprovo a

    I almost sent someone from Ghana I met on a chatroom around 200 euros so they could finish school and help their dying mother.The person was very friendly and desperate but I had an Inkling It was a scam.I started to make up reasons why I couldn't help him financially and like a switch he turned from friendly to demanding to hostile.Then I knew It was definitely a scam.It was a christian chatroom and he weaved his way In looking for a victim that was gullible and compassionate enough to help him out.

  21. Reprovo a

    The VICE reporter throws himself to the sharks willingly and Ignorantly.

  22. Terry Beaton

    All those guys on Wall Street must be starving petty bad. They cook up the best, most profitable schemes in the world. Maybe they just have the best JuJu occult guy money can buy. Hell, maybe they drink baby's blood. They got away with it all and are still going strong!

  23. Rico Stapel

    I love this answer, will remember it

  24. Kwame Nseboah Nyarko

    I'm a Ghanaian , and virtually nobody respects or them or considers the Sakawa people as honest businessmen except the riff raff, and the deceived (they usually have a front that explains all the money they make, though in my opinion if you are observant enough, you can easily make out a Sakawa person) :) . Just to set the record straight on your final sentence

  25. texastea2

    Reprovo sadly that has happened to me almost many times. I have so far never fallen for the scam (most are dumber than a bag of rocks and easy to catch in a lie) you call them out and usually they stay in costume for a short argument then the real anger comes out. I have enjoyed many mornings waking up and calling the scammers just to screw with them and hopefully ruin their day. I know it is mean but these people are misguided at best. The problem is the ones they are (rightfully) angry at are all DEAD.
    The christian thing is used a lot. They figure ,it worked for the Christians that destroyed their countries , should work for them

  26. texastea2

    There you go, well stated.

  27. texastea2

    You do realize that shoplifting raises the prices of products and besides if we all just shoplifted the world would be a real shootout at the Koo Koo corral.

  28. Dee Dee

    The juju priest is the savviest scammer of them all lol.....little ( and useless)work for plenty money.

  29. Dee Dee

    He calls Sefa cosmopolitan? LMAO........

  30. Exposing Milabs

    I want so much to help a boy that connected with me 6 months ago from Ghana, at first needing help getting a laptop for school, then help because his grandfather was sick and couldn't work, but then he said it was his Grandmother (caretakers), and the red flag went up. I never sent money. Now, he needs only $300 to pay for 3 semesters of school that includes the books. His "teacher" called me today to encourage my support. I keep playing along to see where it goes I guess. I'm now waiting for the SCHOOL to confirm he's enrolled and show me some documentation etc...I want to be wrong...I want to help this kid if he's genuine....but the red flags are now on high alert. I think I'll be keeping the cash.

  31. bob andy

    Met him on lover inn and he introduced himself as Sgt. goodwill from USA in mission at Iraq, wife died and had son with a friend in Ghana. We chatted for month including his son Perry on cam. It happened that he found a briefcase of gold and wanted to ship to me but had no way then he brought the idea that his friend in Ghana knows Ghana Customs and can pass gold there to me, it started with few $ until I paid almost $46,000 during the process until I found on the web that it scam and I contacted the Ghana Crime Unit and he was arrested and some of my losses recoverd.Beware of scam from Ghana and contact officials!

  32. Eric

    The question is why do these youngsters engage in internet scams and fraud?.. well don't be too quick to judge these people, This act has been almost impossible to deal because of the hardship in thier countries especially ghana, People will work really hard and do whatever they can to go through schooling and at the end there are no jobs for them. some of these guys are the breadwinners of thier families. There is soo much hardship that these guys will do anything at all to make money, People don't see the need for education now because even after u spend getting that education you end up jobless, There is only one way to stop this bull****, Visionary leaders and an effectIve economy, arresting these guys won't stop this act

  33. LC

    If you want to know more about perhaps why these scams exist, rather than simply condemning them, you have to understand the situation of the economy in Ghana (and West Africa, also).

    Scams exist in countries all around the world, it's interesting to me that people are so upset when Africans try to scam Americans (or other Westerners.). I sense this outrage has tinges of prejudice, when people should just try to understand what is going on in that country. But, perhaps that is asking to much.

    If you want to read an interesting book about characters and perhaps build emphathy (although I doubt many would) the book "I Do Not Come to You by Chance" by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is an excellent choice. It's well-written and about the 419 scams in Nigeria.

  34. Where'sWald0

    Just about every video I've watched on here, our friend wald0 appears. You're fuked in the head mate, reach out, ask for help. God bless

  35. Blossom

    I enjoyed this one to the extent that it put a face on it. They seem like nice, but misguided people. If you're educated but think it's okay to to take money from people just because they fall for it, you need to check yourself. If you think paying a man who throws eggs at you is some spiritual advantage, I'm sorry. For those who have fallen for these scams - seriously?! They make zero sense. Complete strangers do not legitimately email you and ask for money. Seriously.

  36. Richard Aluko

    The internet scam! It all started in Nigeria. In Nigeria they call it yahoo yahoo boy/yahoo plus or G boy. Nigerians have many ways to scam you than any other scammer in the whole world.

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