Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Hi Fran - Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX and I just may be getting scammed by a gal in Accra, Ghana. We've been chatting with webcam for a month. She has expressed a desire to come to the US to meet me, in Hawaii where I live. Mainly because of the webcam, I have come to believe her, but there are discrepancies. She said her passport had expired; I sent money for her to get it renewed. She sent me a copy of it yesterday and it looks completely real. I have been on the GIS site and seen their examples of real and fake passports and hers certainly appears real. I will try to contact them to verify. The problem came in the form of the dates. The passport shows the date of issue to be one year ago, but the month and day correspond with her current claims that she got it on Aug 21, two days ago. As for a visa to the US, she is saying that there are agents who assist Ghanaians and can get visas very quickly (tourist type with a work permit) and that through these agents the cost is 1500 per each 3 month duration of stay. Is this some kind of under-the-table side action going on at US customs or is this completely false and how can we be sure? Any light you can shine here will be appreciated! Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX
Hello Jacustomer,I know that you want to believe her but the woman is lying to you. Once she starts asking for money she's a scammer. And even though you would rather not believe that, it's the #1 sign of a romance fraud and not what real people do. Strangers do not ask other strangers for money unless they are con artists or thieves. Romance scammers come on so strongly and intensely that you just don't think they are strangers. But until you meet an internet contact in person, you have no idea who and what they really are.How much money did she get you for in order to obtain her passport? Ghana's Immigration Service, which warns outsiders not to wire money to a Ghanaian romance, says that it cost the equivalent of $35 USD -- $70 if she wants it expedited.As far as the Visa is concerned it is ONLY available through the US Embassy in Ghana. There is no possibility that she can obtain it privately through an outside firm. A tourist visa -- the only one that she would be eligible for -- costs $140. It does not allow for the visitor to work here. (see link) In order to come over here on a temporary or permanent work visa, she would have to be sponsored by a US employer who has demonstrated to the US Department of Labor that her position would be one that no American citizen is as qualified for. At that point the employer would do most of the paperwork over here and get the approval for her. She'd only have relatifve odds and ends to do over there, and it would be paid for by her employer.So it would appear that she doesn't know anything about US immigration policies and she is counting on the fact that you won't know them either. I cannot always tell if a passport is phony but I would be happy to look hers over as well as any photos of her you have, which can sometimes be traced to those of actresses and porn stars downloaded from the web. You can try to upload them to this thread by using the paperclip icon, or if you want to keep it off the web, you can attach them to an email to customer service atXXX@XXXXXX.XXX, and they will forward it on to me.But she's lying to you, she's asked you for money, and she's padding the cost. That's dispositive, right there. You need to walk away before you get hurt.
Aloha Fran- I was specifically wishing to know if there is any way that these so-called agents could be making under the table arrangements for acquisition of US visas. It wouldn't be the first time that such things have occured. Also wished to know if the passport was real or fake and whether the date of issue is indeed correct. She claims to have received it Aug 21 of this year, 2013, and that the date is mis-printed. These are fine points and I am mostly convinced that you are correct, but I would like to be "beyond the shadow of a doubt". I got in touch with the U.S. Embassy there via phone, but was unable to understand what my contact was saying due to the poorness of the connection and the heaviness of the local accent applied to English! I'd like to send you the passport, I will try to attach it. Failing that I'll send it per your instructions above.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX is a bitter pill, which includes realization of my own gullibility. Generally, my policy is to trust people unless they give me reason not to. In this case, I have paid a price!
James Smallwood, Jr.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).