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JULY 08 - JULY 16, 2014

Reporter Engages 'Nancy' and Exposes The Truth Behind Ghana Internet Scams

By Sarah Martinez & Frank Parlato

July 08, 2014

But, in reality... This is really your newfound love...

Several days after publishing our story "Falls Man Victimized by African- Based Lonely hearts Computer Scam"(July 1), a report about how an online romance scam duped 73-year-old Ronald Robinson of Niagara Falls out of $6,300, the Niagara Falls Reporter made contact with the scammer, who claimed to be someone in Ghana, Africa, named "Nancy."

Robinson had come to us after being asked for an additional $1,200 for "pocket money," something she said immigration authorities required her to have in order to leave Ghana.

We texted Nancy, telling her we were Robinson's uncle and he would not be able to send $1,200.

Nancy began texting, calling us "uncle," saying "my heart cries for Ronald always" and if Robinson did not soon send the money she would be evicted and, once on the street, "wicked Ghanan men will rape me and kill me."

We wrote, "Too bad we did not meet first for I would send you the money to bring you here and meet me, but you love Ronald too much."

Nancy: Can you tell me your name?

We wrote: Winston Groovy.

Nancy: Winston, as you tell me that Ronald says he will not bring me there, so when you bring me there I will come and stay with you."

Groovy: But you love Ronald so much. I want a woman of my own to love only me.

Nancy: But Ronald has disappoint me so how can I give him my heart again so try to care about me and I will leave here and be with you.

Or even better..maybe this!

Nancy asked if he would do a video call, via Skype.

A Skype account was created under the alias Winston R. Groovy, and one of our writers appeared online.

Within seconds, a video call was in progress.

When we accepted the call, a grainy video of "Nancy" appeared. She smiled and appeared to be typing on the keyboard.

Our writer, appearing as Winston Groovy, greeted Nancy but there was no sound.

Groovy asked her to enable her audio, so we could hear her.

Nancy, in the video, smiled, and appearing responsive to the question, was typing.

Nancy: My internet is very bad here. Because my internet bills has due. You are such a nice man. I am sorry i don't have microphone. My internet is very bad here.

Groovy: You are too beautiful.

Nancy: And you are also nice man. Can you tell me something about you?

Groovy: I sold my hotel and my restaurant, and now have retired and looking to meet a nice lady to be with 4 ever. How about you?

At this point the grainy video disconnected and the two were left to text.

Nancy: I was born in South Africa in a city called Cape Town but due to some problems i am now in Ghana. I was living with my parents. And we was having a relative in Ghana and she was my Grandma and my parents said that we should come and pay her a visit. And we arrived in Ghana safely and my parents said that they are going to the Royal Mart to buy some items and unfortunately they get a fatal accident and they died. So because of that I was not able to return to South Africa and I was living with my Old Grandma and my dear I also lost my Old Grandma through a disease. And i use to sell some ice water at the roadside and also at the market but the fridge which i use to sell the ice water destroy so i have stop selling it and i am at home always.

You think this is whom you are talking to…

Groovy: That's so sad. You need to have a change of life, you poor, dear, adorable woman. Such bad luck for one so beautiful.

Nancy: Oh my dear. Life is unfair to me

Groovy: Maybe it will get better real soon

Nancy: Really? Tell me more about you.

Groovy: My parents were living in Buffalo, and they had an unfortunate fatal accident. But they left me a considerable fortune, as my dad was a lawyer connected with the embassy in Japan. With my money that I inherited, I moved to Walla Walla, Washington. Now I live alone, my wife died four years ago, and I am so lonely and no one to share my money with.

Nancy again came on video and appeared to be texting. Sometimes smiling, sometimes looking off to the left. Sometimes a few strands of her bangs would fall over her right eye.

Nancy texted: i am sorry about your wife issue. And is part of life

Groovy: Do u like me?

Nancy: Yes. Do you also like me?

Groovy: I like u very much sweet woman. will u pull your hair up for me now so i can see what it looks like?

The video of Nancy disconnected but Groovy continued on video.

Groovy: Nancy I got to go to a meeting. I got to count my money before I go.

Groovy pulled out a wad of cash and counted it on camera.

Nancy texted: But will you also do me a favor?

Groovy: what?

Nancy: My dear, I want you to send me small money through Moneygram so that I can use it to buy foodstuffs. And I will be very happy about it.

Groovy: How much do you need?

Nancy: My dear how much can you send me from your own heart so that I will use it to buy some foodstuffs and I will thank you and appreciate it.

Groovy: How about I come to meet you in Africa? I can leave on a flight tomorrow. I will buy you food and anything you need.

Nancy: Ok but I have to pay my rent fees because my time has due and the best is for me to be with you in USA because I don't like Ghana.

Groovy: And what will you do when you come to me?

Nancy: I promise that I will do anything you want me to do. And love you always. We have travel agency here to help peoples and can help me to be with you safely without any problems.

Groovy: Oh joy. How soon can you come and how much do you need and will you be with me 4 ever my darling?

Nancy: As for me I don't know the exact amount but I can get the agent information for you so that you can contact him and talk to him so that you will know everything about it. As for now send me the amount for some foodstuffs so that I will know that you care about me. Try to go to Moneygram after the meeting….

As you see, the topic of money came up quickly, and the scammer did not hesitate asking for cash by Moneygram. This was the same method used in Ronald Robinson's case.

A quick Google search of the terms "Nancy in Ghana," and "Nancy Scam in Ghana" revealed many photos of Nancy, and hundreds of reports of victims being scammed. According to these reports, the name and images of Nancy have been used since 2008, with over 700 people making claims they were victims of the "Nancy" scam.

In poverty stricken Ghana, men work in organized groups to persuade lonely old men online to send them money under the pretext of being beautiful young women who wish to leave Ghana and marry them.

The photos and videos (which purport to be Nancy texting live on Skype) are actually those of internet porn performer "Lana Brooke" who is said to be a favorite among scam artists because she looks "All American" and "Corn Fed".

Brooke herself has spoken out on the issue according to reports, claiming her photos were stolen and used for the purpose of defrauding people on the internet.


According to, the scam originates from a group referred to as "Gang Scammers," "Yahoo Boys," and "Sakawa." The practice of Sakawa originates from Ghana and combines modern internet-based fraud practices with traditional religious rituals. Some of the internet scammers use 'magic' rings when they type on keyboards, and bring the menstrual blood of their girlfriends so they can become successful internet fraudsters.

The scammers are encouraged by some in their community because it generates revenue in a village riddled with poverty. The scammers are living lavish lifestyles.

Some elders however are concerned with the growing trend, stating it will be the downfall of their community.

The government of Ghana officially condemns the scammers but it is clear that it is becoming difficult for the government and Muslim clerics, chiefs and elders of the Zongo's to control or curb the 'sakawa' or internet fraud now prevalent in the 'zongos' or Muslim communities in Ghana.

The videos are typically pre-recorded, such as the case with Lana Brooke, aka Nancy, in which the scammer uses the same 2 or 3 minute video in a loop, playing it over and over again making it seem that you are actually engaging in a video call.

Later in the day, Nancy again started texting.

Nancy: Where are u? I wish I am there with u now. So try and care about me and i will leave Ghana here. When you bring me there I will come and stay with you.

Groovy: Tell me what u need my lovely.

Nancy: As for now send me the amount for some foodstuffs so that i will know that you care about me. send Moneygram to Luvas Wiafe, Kumasi, Ghana. She is a certain sister who live in our house and she is my friend and she work at the bank.

A few hours passed then Nancy again texted.

Nancy: But you did not send me.

Groovy: Did u not get the money?

Nancy: You have not give me any information about the money you send me. Answer me.

Groovy: Yes I sent it to you

Nancy: Send me the receipt now.

Groovy: (using the name of the internet porn performer) I paid it to Lana Brooke, $2000

Nancy: (Not catching on) Where is the ref numbers? Answer me.

Groovy: I don't think you understand. We are aware of your cheating lonely, old men. We have been texting you as part of a story for the Niagara Falls Reporter. You may read it online on Tuesday.

At this point the texting ceased and we have not heard from Nancy since.





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