I have heard a lot about these mobile scams that for some reason manage to snare a lot of people. I’ve always held the opinion that one must have shut off their brain or be real greedy for these kinds of scams to trap them, and after being on the other end of one it has only confirmed my opinion.
The attempt was amateurish, the story they concocted laughable – in fact, I’m a little insulted that as I played along to ascertain their entire modus operandi, they actually thought I was buying their bullsh*t. That scam is so transparent I’m wondering if anyone ever falls for it, but it seems people do or they would have stopped trying.
The system is just saturated with fraud these days – whether it be online or through mobile – and my worry is that nothing is being done about it preemptively – someone has to fall victim to it before something is done about it.
So I’m going to tell my story, and any law enforcement official interested can follow through and try fixing it. I’m a little too busy and have too little faith in them for me to waste my time pursuing the capture of these fraudsters.
Early Tuesday morning I received a call from a private number. I picked it up and the person on the other side asked who was speaking. I answered and he proceeded to spin me a tale about how I have been chosen to win Ghc 1,000 as part of an MTN Eid-ul Adha promo.
He asked me where I lived, I answered Laterbiokoshie (a lie). He asked me if there were any MTN mobile money vendors in my area, to which I replied in the affirmative.
He then gave me a number to call, and a four digit code. I was supposed to call the number, which belonged to ‘his boss’, inform him of my good fortune and give him the code, to check if I had really won anything. This was a real number, not hiding behind any ‘private number’.
I thought they called me because I had won? I still had to have my code verified? After calling the other gentleman with my ‘code’, he said he would check and I should call back in two minutes. I hung up and decided not to call back, convinced that these desperate guys would contact me to ensure they completed their scam.
Lo and behold, after several minutes, of not calling back, Mr Private number called me and asked if I had called ‘his boss’. I said ‘yes’, but he was checking my code. He said I had to call back to ensure he had checked.
I called ‘Mr Boss’ back, knowing I was close to discovering their modus operandi, the method they managed to get others to send them money or whatever they wanted. After ‘Mr Boss’ picked, he told me everything I was supposed to do.
I was to rush to an MTN Mobile Money vendor in my area within the next few minutes. I should drop everything I’m doing and rush there immediately. When I got there, I should call him and let him speak to the vendor. I wasn’t supposed to tell the vendor I had won any promotion, I just had to inform him (the vendor) that the person on the phone was an elder relative of mine, and then let the two of them sort everything out.
That was the extent of my interaction with these two fools. I did not contact ‘the boss’ anymore, and the one using the private number has called me back at least three times since. I’m done with the charade.
I had won a promotion but MTN did not call me, instead entrusting the task to someone with a normal number like mine. I had mobile money on my phone, yet I was to go to a vendor to collect my prize? And I wasn’t to tell the vendor I had won anything to begin with, instead lie to them?
What kind of childish scam is this? Worse, who are the people falling prey to it?
I have no sympathy for anyone taken in by such a scam, although I still feel like sharing this story so at least someone can learn from it. The number of the supposed boss is also displayed so you can watch out for it. MTN can also act on it if they’re worried about their reputation. Any law enforcement official reading can also follow up if they’re interested, they just have to find a mobile money vendor (you have my name, you have my code), brief them, and then let them call back and listen to whatever story they spin to them. That should be enough evidence to grab these fraudsters who are expending energy making lives miserable for some gullible folk instead of engaging in something productive to the nation.