Romance scams are nothing new; some argue that they have existed since the start of humankind, which may be accurate; nevertheless, in ancient times, offenders needed to be close to or near the victim.
Today's romantic scam is similar to a fast-food restaurant in that it is quick, available 24/7, convenient, and delivers instantly, at least in the victim's inbox.
It is heartbreaking to observe how elderly people are frequently victims of romantic scams, particularly online, simply because the government fails them rather than themselves.
Simply expressed, education or computer literacy, as well as the range of accessible tools for preventing online scams or romance scams, is expanding.
Let us now delve into romantic scams, which not only deprive one person (victim) of money and savings, but also leave them embarrassed, heartbroken, and emotionally afraid.
Romance and Love in your Inbox
How lonely do we feel nowadays, when the entire world is available to us as if in the palm of our hand and is so "small," especially with the use of social media, when everything and everyone is "close" to us?
We all require love and long for that one someone who will understand, appreciate, and adore us.
Is it possible to meet someone special over the internet?
What about social media platforms?
How cautious should we be, or must we be?
Have you heard of Mona 4Reall or Hajia 4Reall?
Mona Faiz Montrage, better known as Mona 4Reall or Hajia4Reall, is a well-known figure in Ghana's entertainment industry. She was born on June 26, 1992, and has made a name for herself as a socialite, model, musician, businesswoman, and even the subject of legal wranglings.
Who is Mona Faiz Montrage?
According to federal authorities, a lady with 4.2 million Instagram followers worldwide was extradited to the United States to face charges of defrauding lonely Americans out of more than $2 million in a convoluted international romance scheme.
Romance scams, particularly those that prey on senior citizens, are of great concern."
Mona Faiz Montrage had more than $2 million in fraudulent funds as a result of her involvement in numerous love scams, many of which targeted elderly victims.
Mona's "Hajia4Reall" social media profile in Ghana is one of the top ten most followed in the country.
She was arrested in the United Kingdom and extradited to the United States on American accusations. Federal authorities discovered her Instagram account is linked to photographs of a young woman dressed properly posing in front of expensive cars.
In the United States, she is charged with one crime of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one offence of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Montrage, a native of Accra, Ghana's capital, is also charged with scheming to receive stolen property, which carries a five-year prison sentence, and accepting stolen property, which brings a ten-year prison sentence.
Mona was a member of a criminal organisation (the "Enterprise") located in West Africa that committed a series of frauds against Americans, including romance scams, from 2013 to 2019.
The unlucky people
The Enterprise's romance scam victims were often frail, elderly, and lonely persons. The Enterprise typically perpetrated romance scams by sending victims emails, SMS, and social media messages that gave the impression that they were in romantic relationships.
After convincing their victims that they were in a love connection, the Enterprise members used that trust to trick them into sending money to bank accounts controlled by the Enterprise members.
Aside from romance plots, the plan employed various ruses, such as payments to move gold from abroad to the United States, payments to halt a bogus FBI unemployment investigation, and payments to assist a fictitious United States army officer in receiving money from Afghanistan.
Mona Faiz Montrage was a member of a criminal ring that preyed on elderly people through love scams. These scams can be emotionally and financially damaging to their vulnerable victims.
The marriage certificate of one of the victims
Mona went out of her way to convince one of the victims that the two were married.
She claimed to have married the victim in Ghana and provided the victim with a traditional marriage certificate.
The victim allegedly sent Mona 82 wire transfers totalling around $89,000 to assist with expenses related to Mona's father's farm in Ghana.
Certain topics will be brought up by social media influencers on occasion.
Mona had 4.2 million followers on Instagram.
She frequently posts images of her luxurious lifestyle on Instagram and TikTok, where she regularly engages in social media trends.
In one video, Mona can be seen getting dressed during a Dior trunk show while escorted by staff members. Montrage is seen collaborating with other influencers and endorsing products in other posts.
Maysan Alobaid, a former research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, believes that money laundering "has become a greater threat in the age of influencer culture." He says that because influencers are less tightly supervised, transactions are sped up and law enforcement investigations become more complicated.
In May 2023, Mona Faiz Montrage was arrested and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, receiving stolen property, and conspiracy. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted of the most serious allegation.
When Montrage appeared in court, she pleaded not guilty.
Mona Faiz Montrage is who she says she is.
Mona is from Tamale, which is located in northern Ghana.
She finished primary school in Tamale, where her educational career started. She later attended Labone Senior High School for secondary education.
Mona 4Reall entered the cosmetics sector with the launch of 4Real Beauty, a women's cosmetics brand, in July 2017. She expanded her economic opportunities by founding a New York-based event and entertainment firm.
This organisation specialised in event planning, talent management, and multimedia creation. In 2016, her company organised the Global Wave party in Accra, which garnered her a lot of attention.
Mona's career, however, did not end there; she also pursued a musical career.
Mona's musical career began with the release of her debut track, "Badder Than," created by M.O.G. Beatz, a prominent Ghanaian producer. Notably, she released her long-awaited debut Extended Play (EP), Here To Stay, in October 2021.
The EP showcased her flexibility and ability to cooperate with top industry talent by featuring Stonebwoy, Efya, and Medikal.
Along with the EP, she released a series of music videos that expanded on her visual vision.
Mona's generosity goes beyond her profession.
She demonstrated her humanitarian side by delivering school supplies to children in the Bentum neighbourhood in September 2021.
This act of compassion was inspired by a well-known film in which pupils from Bentum D.A. Basic School requested aid.
People are also interested in Mona 4Reall's personal life. She previously had a prominent relationship with Kennedy Agyapong, better known as Kenpong, a Ghanaian businessman.
The couple filed for divorce in August of this year. Mona's sole child is her daughter Naila.
For her 27th birthday in 2020, Mona received a brand-new Range Rover and a home in Accra's affluent Trassacco estate.
Mona Montrage was also accused in May 2023 with committing a romantic scam that targeted only CBC members.
Montrage allegedly faked on social media to be a wealthy widow named "Mona Dearing" and approached CBC members with offers of financial assistance and romantic partnerships. She would beg for money and utilise it to fund her opulent lifestyle after she had gained their trust.
In both love and life, caution is always essential.