Scam money goes to organised crime

We knew it, right? Scam money goes to international organised crime syndicates.  Well, to be truthful, that’s what we suspected, but did not have enough information as a lay-people to really know it for sure.  Now we do, after a lengthy expose on Australian ABC’s 4 Corners program called Meet the Scammers, Mon 11 Feb 2019, by journalist Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop.

As well as information about the network behind an organised crime king-pin arrested in Canada in 2014, the program talks in depth to some ‘game boys’, some “entry level criminals” in Ghana, according to a Ghanaian police official about how and why they scam.

What is interesting about these ‘café boys’ is the ease with which they talk about their ‘business’ of scamming and how they justify scamming as a legitimate way to make a living and get ahead. They also refer to the colonisation of West Africa that took place in their great-great grandfather’s time, and how taking money from westerners is payback for this.

Professor Monica Whitty

Professor Monica Whitty, now at Melbourne University, describes scammers as “masters of manipulation” and the reporter shows sites which enable emerging scammers to learn the trade by buying proven scripts, getting documents or images photoshopped, acquiring bank accounts, getting help from those who have already proven it works.  This seeking for ‘best practice’ is mentioned several times, and seems to happen at the lowest and highest levels for everyone’s mutual benefit.  That’s everyone in the scamming business, not their ‘clients’ [ie, victims].

Identity theft and the setting up of fake online profiles based on stolen photos is the basis of these scams.  Even gender is not sacrosanct, with these young black ‘game boys’ portraying themselves as both men and women, and talking openly about online sex with both men and women ‘clients’.

One scary point the expose reveals is how romance scams are easily and often linked to money laundering and drug mules, showing several victims of these. This is where organised crime really comes into play, and a case with a criminal based at Villawood detention centre in 2014 is depicted. The more recent arrests at Villawood Detention Centre,  (see also my previous blog on this) was also mentioned.

Scamming, according to Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan of the Australian Federal Police is happening on an “industrial… global scale”, and figures of $12 Billion over 5 years was cited by an American commentator.  That’s US Dollars!  Everyone knows though that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

On the plus side is the fact that some arrests have happened, that finally the police internationally are seeing how big this is and how widely it is connected and are finally beginning to doing something about it.

As usual the devastation for victims is talked about, but nothing mentioned about the support scam victims need after the event.


Colonel Bryan Denny (Ret.)

One of the people profiled in the program is Colonel Bryan Denny (Ret.), who’s photo has been used on social media and dating sites for years.  He, together with Kathy Waters, who’s mother was a scam victim and have set up a support group http://www.advocatingforu.com/   and are seeking to change the 230 Communications Decency Act of 1996 to better combat identity theft in America. To support them, sign their petition here.

Well done to victims Chyrel Muzic and Peter Strand for also talking out about their scam stories. We need more victims to speak out.

Congratualtions Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop on a great program.

Published by

Jan Marshall

I was the victim of an online romance scam in 2012. I lost over $260k. I share my understanding about what happened, how I recovered and the latest trends

3 thoughts on “Scam money goes to organised crime”

  1. Great article! Online dating in general sometimes unfairly gets a bad wrap, but most people don’t realize that over 40% of new relationships world-wide are started ONLINE! There are a lot of good paid sites, and a few great free ones if you know where to look. For those who are more interested in Asian singles, the best truly free site we’ve found is All Free Asian Dating There are also some good paid sites like Match or eHarmony if you are willing to pay monthly fees.

  2. Thank you so much for posting the show information and Bryan and I’s website! We are working with legislation to make changes in the 230 CDA! It really was an excellent educational show and Kudo’s to Sean and Lesley at 4 Corners for all of their hard work!

  3. As a victim myself who lost 8800.00 I appreciate all the great work you are doing to help victims. If ever theread is anything more that I can do please let me know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *