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Police to work with Ghanaian authorities to clamp down on rise of schools teaching ‘romance scams’


Ghanaian schoolchildren are being taught not to exploit romance scams in the UK after the rise of sinister ‘alternative’ schools teaching teenagers in the country to fish out the Brits

  • The program is part of a bid for British police to provide training for detectives in Ghana
  • Model paving the way for wider collaboration with authorities in other regions

UK authorities will notify Ghanaian police of damage caused by so-called ‘romance scams’ in a bid to tackle the £90million problem of children overseas being trained in catfishing and fishing fraud in Britain.

Nik Adams, UK Police Fraud Response Manager, told the Telegraph that a joint effort would provide preventative measures to combat “schools” created to teach children how to find and target wealthy single women online.

He said: “It’s about trying to give people the moral courage to choose not to engage in this type of criminal behavior.” There are several approaches [to tackling fraud] – state-of-the-art law enforcement and truly powerful prevention work.

The program is part of a bid for law enforcement in the UK to share intelligence and training with their counterparts in Ghana to crack down on scams.

Scammers often target older, more vulnerable internet users in “romance scams”

Through the scheme, British agents have shared information with Ghanaian authorities to gain a better understanding of the experiences of victims, which they hope can be used to deter would-be scammers from causing harm.

Adams told the Telegraph he had seen Ghanaian police conduct Prevent-type training, aimed at teaching young people the consequences of being scammed.

Meanwhile, in the Volta region of southeast Ghana, 35,000 high school students have learned to avoid a series of common scams.

It is hoped that this partnership will shape future collaboration with authorities in Africa and Asia.

Prevent training has been rolled out in the UK as a legal requirement for specific authorities where there are risks of radicalisation.

The training aims to prevent terrorist attacks from occurring and to strengthen 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 revised several times since.

In 2020, the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) launched a campaign to tackle romance fraud through awareness raising and greater law enforcement activity, after the incidence had increased by 26% year-on-year.

The campaign led to the identification of 38 victims of love fraud, leading to arrests.

The Irish Garda National Economic Crime Bureau – working with the City of London Police – raised similar concerns and also made arrests.

The start of cooperation with the Ghanaian authorities led to the repatriation of £115,000 along with the victims of such scams to the UK.

The US Embassy in Ghana has also issued warnings about romance scams originating in Ghana, urging citizens to “be alert” to attempts to defraud people looking for a friendship or romantic interest online.

The Embassy said that a “quick transition to discussing intimate matters” could be a harbinger of “fraudulent intent”.

They note that scammers may even establish a relationship over several months before asking for money – but “eventually they will ask”.

Many Americans, they wrote, have said they have lost thousands to scams and are generally unlikely to be able to recoup their losses.

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