How to know you’re falling victim to ‘romance scam’

Ghana has seen an increase in social vices, ranging from mobile money fraud to petty theft. But another phenomenon gaining momentum by the day is romance scam.

This canker is no respect for people, as anyone can fall victim to it.

To prevent more people from becoming victims, certified investigator and fraud examiner Ransford Nana Addo Jr. shared how one can determine if they are falling prey to the crime.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Mr Addo Jr. emphasized that the scam can take various forms.

He pointed out that scammers predominantly gather information about their targets by stalking their social media accounts.

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From there, the fraud examiner stated, the scammers proceed to make unsolicited calls or texts to their target.

But it doesn’t end there. According to Mr. Addo Jr., the scammer then tries to build a friendship with the target. When they have achieved this, they proceed to start a relationship by making the victim believe they share a common story.

“… at the end of the day, they begin to win your confidence, you begin to trust them, and you begin to make disclosure of things that you have,” the certified investigator indicated.

The next point that Mr Addo Jr. raised was that, once the scammer has established a relationship with their target, they eventually create an emergency situation – “a relative is ill and in need of money, or a worse situation” – after which they begin to avoid them.

This, Mr Addo explained, is a manipulative method used by the scammer to extort money from their victim.

“When they avoid you, you get worried and want to help them solve the problem, and that is when you begin to pack money, send money to an account and they withdraw,” the fraud examiner stated on Friday, May 19, 2023.

The expert added that another characteristic of ‘romance scammers’ is the tendency to avoid physical meetings.

He told the host of the show, “at any point in time when you want to meet them, they won’t allow you to meet them. That is a warning sign.”

Subsequently, Mr Addo Jr noted that the ‘predators’ ensure that they build a relationship to the extent that they can have an emotional connection with their targets. When this happens, it becomes “difficult for you [the victim] to move a day without talking to them.”

One thing is certain: once a scammer gets a hold of their target, it becomes easy to extort money from their victims.

With that, he reiterated that ‘romance scams’ take various forms, however, the warning signs are very clear.

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