2> The Mega prize sms: Whenever you receive a text message it’s very hard to resist opening it. Curiosity gets the better of you most of the time. Now imagine a situation where the text message supposedly from a popular network provider reads: CONGRATULATIONS! You have been selected as the lucky winner of the N250,000 in our mega cash promo. Call 080* *** **** to claim your prize. Depending on the current financial situation of the recipient of this heart-warming message the immediate reaction would be to call the stated number and disclose every bit of information required to get your hands on that cash prize. The penny drops when you’re told to visit a particular office (not an office of the network provider) to pick up your cheque . Cheque? How about I give you my bank name and account number? At this point you either receive a barrage of insults or the frustrated scammer drops the phone on you.
3> The Big Ticket transaction phone call: In my line of banking work there’s a high tendency to receive calls from unknown numbers on account of constantly giving out my business cards. The problem with this is that you have no idea whose hands your 100+ distributed cards will end up in. Cue the scammer. I’ve been at the receiving end of a number of quarterly calls from supposed engineers from reputable oil companies including Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil. The calls usually follow this same pattern:
‘Hello. Is that Anthony?’ (Enquiry to confirm it is me on the phone)
‘This is Engineer Babatunde from Chevron. Are you still with ___ bank?’ (Again, confirming it is really me on the phone)
‘Ah ah, you don’t remember me? It’s a been a while anyway. You used to handle my transactions.’ (Total BS. I didn’t know this punk from Adam!).
‘I need your help with my transaction. I’m currently out-of-town on site in Port Harcourt. I need to make a payment but my cheque of (insert insane amount of money here) hasn’t cleared.’ (I’m wondering whether I should let his phone credit run out or let him finish running his lying trap).
‘If you can pay in the difference of (insert an affordable amount you could risk gambling with here) into my account and send me your account number so I can credit you once the cheque clears. I really appreciate it…hello? hello? Anthony, are you there??? hello?
4> The ‘divine’ hypnosis’: This next scam is exceptionally dangerous if you’re the kind of ‘goody two shoes’ citizen who goes out of his or her way to assist ‘lost tourists’ in the street. Over here in Nigeria you’d usually never suspect a lady or two looking like Jehovah’s witnesses and engaging you to find a particular venue. The play is this – after stopping to ask for directions she hypnotizes you and tells you something along the lines of ‘I have seen your destiny and unfortunately you are going to die unless you…’ The last victim I learnt that got scammed this way took public transport back home, cleared the portable household valuables and took public transport way out of his borough to hand them over to the scammers. By the time the poor chap snapped out of the trance after midnight he realized what had just happened. Till this day he can’t even fathom how he found his way to and from the town where he mad the drop-off. The last JW-looking lady who accustomed me on the road as I walked to my office asked me for the way to a particular bank. I knew the way but based on the experience I just narrated I simply kept walking and humming just in case the hypnosis was working its way into my ears! So if I seem rude when you ask me navigational questions or see into my future then you’ll know why.
5> The dollar wash cab drive: I miss London and their black cabs – you jump in the driver asks where you want to go and you don’t to have a conversation with him. You just sit back, shut up and watch the digital taxi fare meter drain your wallet per minute.There are however few unlicensed taxis/private hire into this scam whereby you enter the cab and notice the driver and one of two passengers in the back – arguing! You ignore them at first during your journey but as you begin to listen closely you realize they’re talking about something that makes your world go round –
Love Money. The driver has been complaining to one of the passengers (passenger 1) that she should have told him she was carrying a lot of dollars. The passenger 1 pleads. The driver stops the car and goes to the boot with that passenger 1 and they discuss (out loud so YOU can hear). He reiterates that the dollar is so much but she promises to share some with him. They get back into the car and then the driver goes off again complaining and threatening to take passenger 1 to the police station. All of a sudden passenger 2 intervenes and agrees with the driver that passenger 1 should be taken to the station and then he asks YOU what your opinion is…
Ladies and gentlemen, there are two ways this story can go down – you can order the driver to stop the car so you can get down, OR you agree that the driver takes you all to the ‘police station’ and eventually find yourself in an uncompleted building where passenger 1 and her accomplices you sat with show you how dollars are made using a ‘special chemical’. Some level of hypnosis or ‘Jazz’ (Nigerian slang for charms) is involved, coupled with your greed. You end up going back home and completing the stages mentioned in scam 4 by the unfortunate victim. (Insert You just got punked here)
Remember, if it’s too good to be true it probably is.
Disclaimer: No Jehovah Witnesses were bullied, hurt or tortured in the writing of this article. Their faith is no way being mocked nor their conservative dressing but simply a way of getting as close to a particular description as possible in relation to the article.