Police are working with Ghanaian authorities to clamp down on the rise of schools teaching ‘romantic scams’
Ghanaian schoolchildren are being taught not to run British romance scams after emergence of sinister ‘alternative’ schools teaching teens in the country to catfish Brits
- The scheme is part of a bid by the British police to train detectives in Ghana
- Model to pave the way for wider cooperation with authorities in other regions
Authorities in the UK will advise Ghana’s police on the harms of so-called ‘romance scams’ in a bid to tackle the £90 million problem of children abroad being groomed into catfishing and defrauding people in Britain.
Nik Adams, who leads the UK police response to fraud, told De Telegraaf that a concerted effort would lead to preventive measures against “schools” set up to teach children how to find and approach wealthy single women online.
He said, “It’s about trying to build the moral courage for people to choose not to engage in that kind of criminal behavior. There are multiple approaches [to tackling fraud] – tough law enforcement and really strong prevention work.’
The scheme is part of an effort for law enforcement in the UK to share intelligence and training with their equivalents in Ghana to counter scams.
Scammers often target older and more vulnerable internet users in ‘romance scams’
Through the program, agents in Britain have been sharing information with authorities in Ghana to better understand victims’ experiences, which they hope can be used to deter would-be scammers from causing harm.
Adams told The Telegraph that he had seen the Ghanaian police provide Prevent-style training aimed at teaching young people about the consequences of being victims of scams.
Meanwhile, in the Volta region of southeastern Ghana, 35,000 high school students have learned how to avoid a range of common scams.
The partnership is expected to shape future cooperation with authorities in Africa and Asia.
Prevent training has been rolled out in the UK as a legal requirement for specified authorities where risks of radicalization exist.
The training is aimed at stopping terrorist attacks and strengthening the UK’s protection against extremism through intervention.
It was part of the CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy introduced in 2003 under the Blair administration and has since been revised several times.
In 2020, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) of the City of London Police launched a campaign to tackle love fraud through awareness raising and increased enforcement activity, after the incidence rose by 26% year on year.
The campaign led to the identification of 38 victims of love fraud, leading to arrests.
Ireland’s Garda National Economic Crime Bureau – in conjunction with the City of London Police – raised similar concerns and also made arrests.
The start of cooperation with Ghanaian authorities resulted in £115,000 being repatriated with victims of such scams in the UK.
The United States Embassy in Ghana has also issued warnings about romance scams from Ghana, urging citizens to be ‘alert’ to attempted fraud by people seeking friendship or romantic interest online.
The embassy said that a “quick transition to discussing intimate matters” may be a warning sign of “fraudulent intent.”
They note that scammers can build a relationship even for several months before asking for money – but “eventually they will ask for it.”
Many Americans, they wrote, have reported losing thousands to scams and are generally unlikely to be able to recoup their losses.