The Sakawa Boys: Internet Scamming in Ghana

The Sakawa Boys: Internet Scamming in Ghana

2011, Technology  -   54 Comments
Ratings: 6.76/10 from 93 users.

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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54 Comments / User Reviews

  1. John Codrington

    I met a Girl name Ofuso Sackey is she real

  2. Ofuso Sackey

    I was by a girl in Accra Ghana is she real

  3. Robert SPENCER

    Ha ha Yahoo boys in Guyana are a group a gang of guys that teach each other the scams and they get a girlfriend the ones that they can and they have babies with them then they use the woman on the Internet to bring in the money to pay for their family it is a romance scam they know if they put their real girlfriend live video on the Internet you will believe anything she says when you call your girlfriend in Guyana they have the couch out in the middle of the room and the boyfriend hides behind the couch when you’re on video did it to me for two years and I finally caught her and it was her baby doing the crying not the neighbor she finally admitted it they are very sneaky and they never intend to ever leave Ghana and come to USA They will even get a passport to make you think they’re coming because they’re cheap but you never get them to go to the embassy and show proof on video they will send fake papers

  4. Robert SPENCER

    Some other women are real they come on video as them self but they have boyfriends and they do not intend to come to USA they just make you think they do are well and hide their boyfriends and babies

  5. Robert Thomas

    I was text message from a Natalie Brentford age 31 in Ghana is she real or what

    1. Debbie Johnson

      All the girls on the ghana internet are boys who belong to sakawa in accura ghana look them up there there

    2. Ashley

      Yes she is real

  6. MM

    I was contacted by a guy, his "name" was Aaron Denzel. He contacted me on facebook, but I knew from the beginning that is something wrong with him because he asked me to give him my e mail address to chat on Hangouts. He explained me that he works on a oil rig and he feels alone and he needs someone to talk too. Honestly I felt sorry for him so I continued with the whole fairy tale, but after 2 weeks he was saying that he will come into my country and we can live together as a happy family. I didnt believe him from the beginning but all I can say for people who interact on the internet, never to give real information, and of course never to send money.. They have a lot of imagination, I really feel sorry for them, but cheating people there is never an excuse to do it. I ve wanted to add also some photos which he sent me, but I can see that here is not allowded

  7. Chris Mayhew

    Scamming people is just what these dudes do

  8. Nathan Gordon

    Why do the Ghonnareans continue to reproduce?

  9. michael

    Scam them back! Play along. That’s what I did. They are criminals! What are they going to do? Call the police? They are not as sophisticated and smart as the media makes them out to be. They are idiots. I told “her” that I was walking down a sidewalk and a Tyrannosaurus Rex came out of the woods and bit me and then ran back into the woods and “she” believed me!!! I strung “her” along. I promised her that I would send “her” money on a specific date and got “her” hopes up high and then when it came time I
    revealed that I had scammed “her” and gave “her” nothing. DO NOT give them any personal info, your true location, photos or money. “She” goes by the name of Esther Williams.

  10. Abdul-Latief

    Africa our corrupt leaders are responsible. You for que to vote for them to enrich themselves and their family forgetting about those who voted them into power. Just imagine I completed university way back 2015 without job. I was told to pay Gh3500 before I could get a job from Ghana education service. You could imagine. Such of these you will be tempted to do sakawa so part of it is our nonsense leaders.


    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


    Plases tell me what to do and get money

  13. Dcgun

    I was conned by a checker one night at a Walmart. I bought a few items and went to check out and at the register I was purchasing a phone card for a young lady who had done some work around the house for me. I paid for it all with a credit card and the total was a little over $125 or thereabouts. After paying for it the checker acted like it wouldn't accept the upgrade, because their all just a piece of magnetic tape that gets the activation in the process as I am sure everyone is well aware of. Anyway he convieniently has none of the cards at his checkout and I have to go in search of a checkout that had one and return to his register where he has supposidly credited my account back and he runs my card again for the purchase of the new one. Before I left the store I knew something wasn't kosher with everything but I had paid with a card and every register at stores like Walmart have no less than 5 cameras on every one there at all times, sure enoough he hadn't removed the first card from my bill. The nest day I went back and had to see the manager to get it resolved! Has anyone noticed how Walmart makes you feel like your guilty untill proven inocent in any kind of return. And I am a businessman and usually always in a suit when I go to buy things mayby they think I look look like a lawyer!LOL

  14. Dcgun

    I can't believe people fall for it anymore It first came to my attention about 10 years ago. Someone posing as a younger female student studying medicine in Guyana. They were suppose to be from the US and their father was from Africa and was in an accident and dies there and they are now a victim of circumstances and need your money to come home and be your girl. Surprisingly women around the worl don't see their pictures being posted by someone else in these scams, and possibly it has happened. I imagine these people, male or female, Don't care wether their playing the role of either as long as they can snare themselves a patsy. They are getting much more proficient at it because years ago I could spot them a mile away mostly because of the dialect. It would be me want to marry you instead of I etc. If they are so good at this now they just need to act like their happy and rich and get on with their miserable lives! Hell isn't full yet and thats where these people are doomed for! I was approached by 4 today their getting bad on Zoosk. They start a subscription and write their number on their post, getting kicked off soon after they start but long enough to get a few lines cast. I have had to of been approached probably close to fifty times.

  15. Nathan

    scams happen everywhere. I was in a grocery shop and this young white boy walks in. he picked an item of about $10 and went to pay up. I overheard him ask the man at the machine to charge him $100. After that, I noticed the man counted some notes and gave to the boy. I later got to understand that the man gave him $90. isn't that a scam?

    There are so many things to watch out for when it comes to these anonymous emails. Firstly, they have so many punctuation errors.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Where

    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

  19. 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.

    1. charlotte

      the state of ones economy and country is not to excuse scamming for a living. shame shame and if they worship a god, heaven is not for them

  20. 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

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. Dee Dee

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

  24. Dee Dee

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

  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. Reprovo a

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    1. 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

  29. 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

    1. 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.

    2. Trevis Robotie

      I love Waldo :D

  30. byronikus

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

    1. Trevis Robotie

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

  31. 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.

    1. texastea2

      There you go, well stated.

  32. 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 -

    1. 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.

  33. 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 !

  34. TheDanishViking

    Good watch.

  35. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. Pysmythe

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

    6. OyVey

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

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. Rico Stapel

      I love this answer, will remember it

    10. 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!