Showing posts with label Scam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scam. 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?

Monday, 17 April 2017

Job contract that turns sour because of ''registration fee''



 
 Photo credit: MadameNoire.com

This month started on a good note.  Normally, it starts with series of good will messages and calls from family and friends. However, it was quite different this time around. It was a pleasant surprise getting a message for a contract from a client.  To be sure it was neither spam nor 419, I did some background check and research on this particular client and the company he was representing.  After  l googled the client's name,  I was quite impressed with what l saw. He looked level headed, had an impressive work profile and was obviously well- connected.  My first instinct was the respond to the message immediately but I decided to take ''chill pills'' lest over-excitement makes me flop.

I recall that something similar had happened in the past. Out of over-excitement, I did not take the time to understand the message and replied without thinking. That cost me that opportunity because the client never got back to me. Certainly, I would not take more 24 hours to respond to this very message but I just needed some minutes or so to think through and reason if it was worth it. Later on in the day, when I was in a more relaxed mood and place, I informed the client of my availability, interest and willingness to take on the contract.


I read the message from this client, once again, understood what he was saying then responded that I have would be obliged to take on the new project. After some days, he responded. Phew! For a moment, I thought I responded late and probably made the client get someone else but thankfully got a feedback from him. According to the client, I was to contact an agent, who would put me through to process.

So what exactly was the contract about? The contract was about modelling for billboards, calendars and souvenirs, something I had never done before. I was like ‘’Wow’’. In my mind, I was like '' I don blow''. I was already calculating what I was likely to be paid. The fact that it was a new opportunity, stirred so much  excitement in me.


It was a weekend so I had to wait for Monday to make it more official. After I had thought of what I was going to say to the agent, I gave him a call and this was what transpired:

Me: Good morning Sir! Please, Is this Mr. Lagbaja?

Agent: Good morning! Yes, May I help you?

Me: I got your number from Mr. John. He directed me to you concerning a modelling contract

Agent: Okay.... What is your name?

Me: My name is Akpo'didi

Agent: Hope you are very beautiful?

 Me: (Giggled)

 The Agent continued: Before we give you the contract, you would have to buy a form for #10000 after which the modelling agency would endorse you then from there you become a certified model.  You would be working under us so every payment made for a job, a certain percentage of your payment would be for us( your agent)?

Me: Really? How much percentage?

Agent: I can't disclose that. Probably see me in person so we can discuss that but come with the #10000 cash for the form?

Me: Okay... When sir?

Agent: Would tomorrow be fine?

Me: The day after the tomorrow would be convenient

Agent: Ok.... No problem. The ball is in your court

Me: Thanks, sir.

Agent: Bye for now

Me: Good bye sir

And that was the final goodbye because after thinking things through and consulting people for advice, I realised that it might just be another scam. One has to be careful in this perilous times. We hear of how people are kidnapped, robbed and used for diabolic things.  Have you not heard of people invited for job interviews only to duped or kidnapped? Just as the popular singer , Omawumi said in her song’’If you ask me?’’- the things wey e happen, e heavy for mouth

 Okay for the benefit of doubt, the agent might not have such intentions but since at the end of the day, he gets a certain percentage, he might as well wait till I do the modeling job then  deduct the #10,000 registration fee from my payment, shikena?

This incident reminds me of a similar occurrence. There was the notice that models were needed for an upcoming event.The applicants were to be added to exclusive Whatsapp group. After joining the chat group, the administrator notified the group members that they were to pay a certain amount of money for registration after which they will be inducted to the modelling agency to start making money.

A member of the group insisted that the agency could as well deduct the registration fee from their salary to start with rather asking them to pay money before enrollment. She had done her calculations. They were about 30 of them in the group and if that was multiplied by the registration fee that amounted to a huge sum of money. Since the group administration refused to reason with the adamant member, she politely left the group. That was the last the administrator heard from her.

In most cases, after paying the required registration fee, the applicant might end up being used after she discovers that the agency ended up selecting a particular few from the battalion of applicants. This leaves the unselected applicant helpless and the registration fee is usually non-refundable.


What do you think of jobs that you have to pay ‘’registration fee’’ first before getting the contract or job position? Are they not mild ways of duping unsuspecting applicants?