He might ask for money to pay for travel so that they could meet in person or he might claim a family member was gravely ill and ask for help with medical expenses. “And so if I ask for money he will give it to me, definitely.” But over months and months of effort, despite Gabby’s apparent confidence and the rumors of vast profits, he was unable to dupe anyone or make any scamming profits.
Gabby was confident that his plans would prove profitable. In fact, the young scammers that Burrell spoke with in 2005 admitted to her that they saw few if any gains from their strategies.
For the youth of the West African nation of Ghana, a country on the margins of the global economy, the growth of the Internet in the 1990s was full of promise — the promise of sharing in the prosperity of the information age, and of forging meaningful connections with the rest of the world, politically, economically, and socially.
But when Internet connectivity finally arrived after the turn of the 21st century, many of these optimistic youth struggled to form connections with the foreigners they encountered online.
One young Ghanaian, Gabby, got the idea to pursue online scamming from his friends. “Sometimes I would accompany them to the banks for the money.” Rather than email scams, Gabby’s preferred methodology was the online dating scam, colloquially referred to as the ‘come-and-marry’ scam.