Showing posts with label Musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Musings. Show all posts

Saturday, 3 November 2018

When The Scammer Tries To Outsmart You

Photo credit: VideoBlocks

Scammers, a.k.a 419ers, have upgraded. With the improvement in technology and social media, they have devised several strategies to dupe unsuspecting victims. It is at times like this that you need to ‘shine your eyes,’ lest you fall prey.
I’m not sure how scammers get the personal information of their victims, but they somehow always have the data. Recently, I received some annoying messages asking me to call certain numbers or give away certain information. My first instinct was to cover the sender with insults. Another move, if I had the time, would have been to bless them and preach the gospel. After all, they needed a change of lifestyle.
On this fateful day, an incoming call came in from someone not on my contact list. I actually thought it was a business associate. Since the environment was too noisy, I told the caller that I would return the call.
As I promised, I called back when I got to a noise-free environment. After a brief introduction that left me puzzled, the caller told me the purpose of the phone call. It was obviously a middle-aged man. I could tell from his voice. I decided to play along, play Ms. Nice.
It was with an intense irritation that I found out that it was a scammer. How he knew my name is what I still don’t know.
So what did he actually say?
He wanted me to serve as an acquaintance to lodge in a hotel where I would meet with another ‘business partner’ to ‘seal a deal.’ They had arranged that I get a certain percentage from the supposed business meeting. However, two things were involved:
I had to provide my bank details and I needed to be available to accompany them to the business meeting.
Who was I meeting with? No concrete explanation. How did you get my number? Still no valid response. And the man wanted me to just jump on his offer. Did I mention that he tried to lure me with a mouth-watering commission? Looking at my current account balance, I might as well forgotten my home training and given in. Thank God greed didn’t get the better part of me.
Come to think of it, I would not have granted the caller audience if he didn’t call back. As soon as I suspected foul play, I ended the call, but he remained adamant and called back. After allowing him to make a fool of himself for like close to 20-25 minutes, I politely turned down the offer and moved on with my daily activities.
That is just one of the many cases. How about Facebook friend requests? How someone with whom you don’t share mutual friends finds you and sends a request is quite surprising. The painful ones are the ones who start begging for money. I almost fell for those scammers. This time around it was not from an unknown person. It was from a schoolmate whose account got hacked. I was happy to receive a message from Tina. It had been long since we last saw or spoke to it each other. Our last meeting was during graduation. We lost contact during the compulsory National Youth Service Scheme. Thank God for Facebook, we reconnected and stayed updated with each other.
For a while, she went mute. Out of blue, she resurfaced. When my phone beeped, it was a message from Tina. I was so excited to hear from her. After we exchanged pleasantries via chat. Boom! She landed. She said that she was in need of a certain amount of money. According to her, she needed the money to send to a niece. She added that she was having difficulty sending money because of network issues on her mobile banking app.
I almost fell for that scam. I almost wanted to send the money; she promised to refund the next day. But something held me back. My instincts told me that it was possible I was being played. I turned her down politely. The next day, I got a message from Tina that it was a scam. She disclosed that her account had been hacked and it had been dormant for quite some time. No wonder she had been mute on social media. She left me wondering what I would have done if I sent the money requested. Imagine the pain of being duped. Thank goodness!
Have you been scammed before? How can you identify a scammer?

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

When people only reach out when they want to borrow money

Photo credit: HuffPost

It's been quite a while since she last reached out to me. Before then, I had been the one doing the reaching out severally just to check up on her to know her welfare and all. I literally gave up my move to rekindle our friendship. All of sudden, out of blues, she reached out to me. And it was because she wanted to borrow money, imagine? It was only when she needed help that she deemed it necessary to reach out.

We had got to know ourselves as undergraduates of the same university. We had come from the same department. We also stayed in the same hostel, so we got pretty close. Then, she could borrow my slippers and I could also borrow her clothes. No one would suspect foul play. However, we seemed to drift apart after graduation. It is obvious distance, family, work, probably lack of shared interests created the communication barriers.

Maybe  she is too preoccupied with her work. Or something was just taking most of her time? What I consider annoying how they reach out to you out of blues when it gets critical for them. But must it be that it only when she needs help that she remembers the other person exists? It is gratifying to be that person that one would 'sees as the Central bank' in the face of a need or an emergency. However, it does not erase the fact that you are in a way 'being used'.  

On this fateful day, she kept bombarding me with calls.  Can you relate to these certain calls and messages that you are kind of unresponsive to? These calls and messages just tell you 'they' want to take from you or need your help.  

While I was hoping that nothing went wrong, just as I was a hundred percent sure that Caro needed some money most likely. Having been observing her trend, I became accustomed to her calling only when a need arises before everything turns back to status quo. Picking up my call, I exchanged pleasantries with her and then she dropped the bombshell.

"Please they are owing money in my workplace, can you raise me some money?,"
"Just a moment, please, let me get back to you "I responded and stuck to my words.

Later on that day, I got to know that she needed money to settle "pending debts for an ongoing project". According to her, her clients were also owing her some money for some months which made her run into debts. No wonder she needed to source for money badly.

I am also reminded of a family member- an aunt. If we were to give an award for busyness, she would take home several. She does not just have time. But when she needs someone to go on errands, then she remembers she has a 'younger sister' somewhere.

These 'set of people' who only reach out in the phase of need could be family members, friends or even relatives. They only get to contact you when they need your help. Most times, it is for financial assistance, other times it is because you fit the perfect description to render the solicited help.

With so many things that one seems to occupy ones time, it might be fair to not blame the other person for lack of care and neglect. Besides these days, everyone seems so cut up with the rat race that they rarely have time for themselves talk less of family or even friends. So should she be excused for her behaviour? This goes without saying that people still strive to make out time for those they care about despite their busy schedule.

When human relationships are parasitic, one party ends up being used. I think that even if there is nothing to say, and an encouragement and information or pleasantries would do just fine.

In the words of Rick Warren; "people who only contact you when then need something are acquaintances not friends."

Let me add this, she is kind of not happy with me. The money she is requesting for is beyond my 'capacity' but she won't accept. I really wish I had the money that people think I have, then I could have done a little bit better.

And I followed what a wise man once said: "You should not borrow money you can't give away."By doing so, it won't pain you too much if the borrower can't pay up on the day of repayment. And you can be rest assured that it could have passed for a gift so you don't mind. Meanwhile, I am awaiting my repayment from her.