Burrell tells a story of a burgeoning online friendship between Fauzia, a young Ghanaian woman, and an Egyptian man.
While chatting online, Fauzia mentioned “ok, my phone is giving me problems and I will be very grateful if you could send me money to get a better phone or if you could send me a new phone.” After repeating the request, “I didn’t see him online again,” said Fauzia.
Entire Internet cafés had been overtaken by scammers, and their profits were clearly evident in the young men’s conspicuous consumption of new cars, jewelry, and trendy upscale clothes.
There was also much more public visibility for the scamming subculture and considerable alarm in Ghanaian society over the activity.
One example begins: Kindest Attention: Sir/Madam, I am Gerry Ogodu, The Secetary  General to the former Senate President Senator Pius Anyim, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Though this proposal may come as a surprise to you as we have not met in any way before.
I got your contact address through your country business Guide and feel you will serve as a reliable source to be used to achieve this aim, by trusting under your care the total sum of Fifteen Million, Five Humdred  Thousand US dollars (US .5M).
“He stopped chatting, he disappeared.” Although such a request might seem suspicious to a Westerner, “small transfers of funds between friends are a regular feature of relationships among youth in Accra,” explained Burrell.
Although such email scams are more strongly associated with Nigeria, they are pursued in other parts of West Africa, as well.
In her research in Ghana, Burrell encountered a number of young non-elite Ghanaians pursuing another approach to the Internet’s promise of prosperity: online scamming.
The most familiar example may be the so-called “419” email scam.
Typically, the young male Ghanaians would assume a fictional female persona online, attempting to lure a foreign boyfriend.
Once the “boyfriend” was properly seduced, the scammer would invent a scenario.