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Safety and Security Equipment and Machinery Public Sector Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Ghana Risk Management Trade Practices

Ghana Scam and Fraud Alert

**Be extremely cautious of any business transaction that requires you to pay advance monies or fees (taxes, registration, procurement fees, bank fees, attorney fees, etc.).  If you have already lost funds or feel you may currently be involved in a scam, please contact your local Secret Service field office and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).


U.S. individuals and businesses periodically are lured into scams and fraud schemes originating – or just purporting to be — in Ghana or the surrounding region.  Cyber-crime takes many forms and can be perpetrated from anywhere; the individuals with whom you are communicating may not be located in the country they identify.  You also should not automatically trust official-looking government documents you may have received from them.  Fraudsters will go to great lengths to make you believe you are engaging in a legitimate business and/or procurement transaction.  Do your due diligence before sending any money.  

The Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana strongly advises U.S. companies to conduct due diligence on all potential new business partners in Ghana and other markets.  We can assist with this by reviewing correspondence or documentation received from business contacts and/or via one of our due diligence services such as the International Company Profile (ICP), which provides an in-depth or basic background check information on a specific foreign company to help determine its suitability as a business partner.  For more information, contact: or Tel: +233(0)30-274-1870 to inquire about our due diligence services.  You can learn more about services available to U.S. companies on our website:

U.S. entities or business interests with a commercially available product/service produced in the United States can also connect with a U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist located in more than 100 U.S.-based offices
These fraud schemes can be sophisticated and innovative. Victims are enticed into believing they have been singled out to share in a particular procurement or lucrative business venture.  Other U.S. companies are simply approached online by fraudulent buyers of their products who have studied the U.S company’s website closely, only to be led down a never-ending path of fees to facilitate that purchase.  

Advanced Fee Fraud Scheme 

The most common scheme is the Advanced Fee Fraud Scheme. The following are common red flags to look for in terms of fraud and scams:  
•    Unsolicited offers to buy goods and services or participate in government tenders.  
•    In almost every case, there is a sense of urgency.
•    The victim may be encouraged to travel to Ghana or a nearby country.
•    There may be forged, yet official looking documents or passport bio pages.
•    You are asked to register your company abroad in order to conduct business;
•    Most of the correspondence is handled by email, mail, or fax. 
•    Blank letterheads and invoices may be requested from the victim along with the banking information.
•    Any number of fees are requested for processing the transaction with each fee purported to be the last required.
•    The confidential nature of the transaction is emphasized.
•    There are usually claims of strong ties to local government officials.
•    A Ghanaian residing in the United States, London, or another foreign venue may claim to be a clearinghouse bank for the Central Bank of Ghana.
•    Offices in legitimate government buildings or banks may be used by impostors posing as the real occupants or officials.
•    In one instance, an alleged “procurement agent” approached U.S. companies at a trade show in the United States to initiate an advanced fee scam.

The most common forms of these fraudulent business proposals fall into seven main categories:
•    Procurement fraud
•    Miscellaneous legal fees to facilitate a business transaction
•    Contract fraud (Cash on Delivery (COD) of goods or services)
•    Disbursement of money from wills
•    Purchase of real estate
•    Purchase or sale of or payment in gold
•    Conversion of hard currency
•    Transfer of funds from over invoiced contracts
•    Advance fees or ‘gifts’ requested to enable U.S. company to be awarded lucrative tender
•    Advance fees to finalize an offer of employment

Recurring Scams  

Some of the recurring scams purporting to originate in Ghana claim to be affiliated with the following (fake) organizations. Please note that all of these organizations maintain elaborate fake websites as part of the scammers’ strategy to lure U.S. companies in and persuade them that they are legitimate.

Fake entities with fake websites:

  • The African Rescue Supply Project
  • National Project Implementation Commission 
  • National Integrated Project Authority (NIPA)
  • National Integrated Development Authority
  • West Africa Projects and Development Board
  • West African Regional Development Union
  • Ghana Private Sector Development Alliance 
  • Organizations purporting to be affiliated with the African Union and or Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), such as: 
    • Eco Procurements Authority (ECOPPA)
    • ECOWAS Project Commission 
    • Africa Union Trade and Industrial Development Agency

By contrast, legitimate tenders and requests for the supply of goods from the Ghanaian Government are posted in official newspapers and/or on the Ghana Public Procurement Authority (PPA) website.  
Gold: Be extremely cautions of any transaction related to the purchase, sale, trade or transportation of gold.  Scammers will often forge these documents.

Letter of Credit and Trade Finance Schemes

The U.S. Export Import Bank (EXIM) has created an informative video that explains common signs of fraud on export documents(applications, financial statements, invoices, bills of lading, export and customs certifications, and letters of credit).  EXIM counsels companies to be on the lookout for: expired, altered or inconsistent documents; unclear fees or commissions; odd prices on invoices; and unverified suppliers or third parties, among other red flags.   

Additional Resources

Individuals and companies can find out more about the Advanced Fee Fraud Scheme at U.S. Embassy Ghana’s Financial Scams page.  Again, if you have already lost funds or feel you may currently be involved in  a scheme, please contact your local Secret Service field office and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Additional market intelligence and information on doing business in Ghana can be found on Commercial Service Ghana’s website at: