General News Sun, 18 May 2003

Police Expose Another "419" Tactics

Police on Friday warned that a new trend of advanced fee fraud has been unravelled where churches and private schools are the main targets.

Chief Superintendent George Appiah, Crime Officer of the Tema Region of the Police Administration, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that this new trend involved both local people and foreigners using false information to dupe these institutions. He said with the religious bodies a pastor is given a call on the phone, which is made to look like a long distance one.

Chief Superintendent Appiah said the caller would then identify himself as a member of the church who would like to send a car to the pastor because his prayers had made him successful. Mr Appiah said particulars of the said vehicle are given to the pastor and he is made to meet an emissary of the sender, mainly at Accra Central. He said the emissary would advise the pastor that money would be needed to clear the car from the harbour and then lead the pastor or his representative to the Tema Harbour area.

The Crime Officer said on reaching Tema the representative is made to wait somewhere for the car to be cleared for him only for the emissary to abscond with the money. He mentioned one incident in which the principal of a private school in Koforidua was made to pay over 17 million cedis for a car that was purported to have been shipped from the United States by an old student to him.

Mr. Appiah said on reaching Accra with the money a man who introduced himself as an acquaintance of the old student asked the proprietor to accompany him to the harbour where he collected the money to clear the car. He then disappeared.

He said the police are investigating three such cases and called on the public to crosscheck any such information about car shipments before committing themselves.

Source: GNA