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"Sometimes I'm tempted to believe so, my friend." Cafe boys like Mohamed, Kweiku and Skidoo are the bottom feeders in a global enterprise which has spread from nearby Nigeria."Those who indulge in this as the perpetrators — most of them are unemployed," Abu Issah, acting head of prosecutions at Ghana's Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), told Four Corners."But they are very intelligent because it takes someone with an intellect to sit down and even fancy how to get into this activity and to hoodwink someone."The FBI reports formidable crime organisations which originated in Nigeria have spread to more than 80 countries and are making billions of dollars a year from scams alone.According to EOCO's Abu Issah, the cafe boys are ready prey for the global syndicates which have taken hold in Ghana."The big guys make millions of dollars," he said."We have Nigerian nationals and other West African nationals who come here — and definitely they have their Ghanaian collaborators — and they share ideas, making it so sophisticated even to track down."The big fishes send the small boys on an errand to undertake preliminary activities for them and when they give them the feedback as to the victim they've got in touch with, they clamp down on them."So they graduate from the little boys to the big guys in town."This is how, in some cases, victims of romance scams are traded among criminals to be used in much larger crimes, including drug trafficking and money laundering.Sometimes I feel like, wow, this lady, she's really in some misery or pain because she really wants to see me and she can't see me.Kweiku's friend 'Skidoo' introduced him to the scamming business. ' Like pampering that way."She's online looking for a partner.He poses as a US soldier called 'Johnny', an online persona built on stolen photos, fake ID and stock scripts with storylines about urgent emergencies that can be solved with cash."Sometimes I'm in Palestine, sometimes I'm in Iraq and we are helping keep peace in that country because there's a war going on," he said. I want somebody to be my lover, my fiance."Kweiku's current target is a Mexican widow in the US.He considers her a prize client."She can't really hear that I don't have an American accent because she's not really a white person," he said."She doesn't have the education and she's not fluent in English, so I was lucky enough to meet somebody who wasn't.These are the foot soldiers in a global scamming enterprise that's breaking hearts and stealing billions of dollars.In a tiny flat in Ghana, in west Africa, an aspiring entrepreneur trawls Facebook for divorced and widowed women on the other side of the world.
She chants, spits schnapps and pours talcum powder on her idols, as she demonstrates one of her most popular incantations with an assistant."He brought some white people to me," she said."The boy wants them to send him some amount because he has been asking for money but they have not paid the money."So I give him some soap to go and use, so when he's using it to bath, he will say anything that he wants the white lady or the white man to do for him."Superstition runs deep in Ghana and many believe scammers rely on juju, or magic."I hear that there is some spiritual powers that they use," said Dr Yankson, from the Ghana Police.He believes he knows the way to a woman's heart and her bank account."Women like men who are caring," Skidoo said."If you're not giving them money, you always call them: 'How you doing? Maybe it's been long since she met someone like that, it's been a long time since someone pampered her.It's been long since someone told her sweet things, you understand." In a packed internet cafe in a commercial town west of Accra, we find teenage boys and young men in front of every screen, logged in on dating sites under names like Jessica, Mary and Jennifer."I proposed to her, and we were getting along but I wanted some capital, so I asked her for money.In all, I think she sent me about ,000."While the Four Corners team is filming, Kweiku returns a missed video call from the woman and blocks his webcam with his finger so she can't see him."I'm trying to video chat with you so you can see me but the camera is not working properly," he tells her in a faltering American accent.