Send Money to Internet Love in Ghana?

I just got an email from a reader with the subject “Am I getting cheated or not?”.

As it is not the first email on this topic, I thought I’d publish my answer – minus the personal details here on my blog.
Basically, a Swedish person has gotten in touch with a Ghanaian person over Internet. They have had contact for half a year and now the Ghanaian wants to “move” to Sweden, but needs money from the Swede to do so and has even produced some kind of official document stating the sum of 2000 EURO.

Now the Swedish person is wondering what to do and asks me for advice.


How nice you have gotten to know someone in Ghana.

You asked for my advice and here it is. For a relationship to work, especially between someone from a rich country and a poor one, it is not a good idea to start that relationship with sending money. Internet frauds, “sakawa“, are very common in Ghana and poverty makes people sometimes follow a hungry stomach rather than a loving heart.

But even more important, I think you should meet a person who wants to “move to you” before he or she does so. The smallest problem you can come to have is that you lose 2000 EURO.

As far as I know, there should not be any demand of showing any money to a “migration office” to be able to travel, however a passport, Visa (see Danish Embassy in Ghana for detailed info), plane ticket, insurance, transfer etc is of course needed.

In conclusion, I’d recommend you to travel to Ghana (see the Official Tourism site Touring Ghana for example) and experience this green and exciting country and meet your friend XXXXX in a more neutral situation where you both can back out should expectations not be met. Also, I would recommend you to not in any circumstance send money to a person you have never met.

What do you think? Is this a sound piece of advice? Or is love bigger than the risks involved?

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  1. Is email the only way they’ve communicated? had there been long discussions about the Ghanaian moving north, or was this a completely new development? If one needs to seek advice, then chances are their defensive intuition’s kicked in and it’ll be wise to heed its warning.
    My advice: NEVER send any money. I would rather she say, “I’ve enjoyed our correspondence, but I’m not in the position to send anyone any sums of money, especially when I have yet to meet them in person. That said, I would however, like to meet in the near future in Ghana to see where things go from there. Sweden would always be there, and it’ll be a nice option to entertain in the distant future when we’ve both planned long in advance for it. Now, let me know what you think.”
    I’ve lived in the U.S. over 15 years now, and I don’t know any friends or family members who’ve sent relatives in Ghana a sum that large, definitely NONE for strangers, even if they claim to be Ghanaian.

  2. Kajsa, that is a very diplomatic reply.
    Without seeing the original email from the one seeking the funds, I can still bet my entire dinner tonite that it is financially driven and the sender has no interest in a long term relationship.
    I’ll tell your reader to cut that “relationship” off and move on.
    I’m glad she checked with you though.

  3. Perfect response. I don’t think it should ever be ‘risks involved’ being conquered by love. It should be pure irrationality, so good advice.

  4. Thanks for your opinion on this. As Yaw points out, it is a very big sum, more than an average yearly salary in Ghana which does call for being suspicious. Mike stresses that the interest from the Ghanaian very well can be purely financially driven while Nana Yaw agrees that love should not come with financial risks. Just “pure irrationality”. Love that.

  5. it was very interesting to read
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  6. I agree with everything everyone has said but want to add one more point. I would advise extreme caution if coming to visit her internet ‘boyfriend’ based on the fact that people have been kidnapped. If she really wants to come, she should tell the man any information about the flight, the day or time she’s arriving. She can then arrange to meet him in a busy public place. Perhaps outside a police station! lol
    But too be honest it does sound like a scam.

  7. I agree that there are other risks too. This situation it was in fact a man writing to a Ghanaian woman, still staying at a hotel and meeting in the lobby would be wise. Maybe even better than the police station…