Mobile Money, often termed as MoMo is unarguably one of the best revolutions to have erupted within the banking sector. Mobile payments generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Instead of paying with cash, cheque, or credit cards, a consumer can use a mobile to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods
Mobile money was introduced in Ghana by MTN in 2009. The service is now operated by three major Mobile Network operators: MTN (MTN Mobile Money), AirtelTigo (AirtelTigo Mobile Money), and Vodafone (Vodafone Cash). It has made money transactions so convenient.
However, fraudsters continue to make the service very uncomfortable for users as they employ simple to sophisticated means to empty the accounts of their targets. This year alone, Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) has arrested a total of 13 mobile money fraudsters who have been handed over to the police. In fact, their activities have become a threat to a lot of people who mainly do their business strictly with mobile money.
I have heard tales of how these notorious thieves carry out their nefarious activities on innocent people and although I’ve not dismissed their narration as untrue, I find it hard to comprehend why they cannot spot the simple methods they use to succeed in outwitting their victims. Well, I had encounters with two mobile money fraudsters at two separate periods and it’s worth sharing it with so you don’t fall into their traps. They failed in their bid to defraud me though but the manner by which I handled them is somewhat ridiculous.
So I was minding my business one evening around 6: 30 pm in February 2020 when a strange number buzzed my cell phone. I was then scanning through social media to get the latest gist which I could work on for my blog. I answered the call and a soft speaking lady of about 25- years at the other end of the phone greeted me formally. I responded politely and asked how I may be of help to her since I never knew whom I was speaking with.
She calmly told me she was sending an amount of ¢700 to her sister who needed the money badly but a minor blunder directed the money into my wallet (instantly I recalled a message had hit my mailbox but I did not bother to check because I was busy). At this juncture, my faculties told me what this whole thing was all about and where it was heading. In fact, I should have entertained and eventually made a fool out of her but I’m a quick-tempered person who hardly condones buffoonery.
I told her bluntly that I did not have time for nonsense and stressed I was busy at the moment to listen to her rubbish. The lady who had earlier told me she was calling from Mankessim in the Central Region, then told me she’ll refer the issue to the MTN office and have my line blocked since I wasn’t cooperating. Our interaction was done in Twi.
A few minutes later, another call came through and this time around, it was a gentleman who was trying to impress me with his English. He introduced himself and told me a lady has reported to their outfit that my account has wrongly been credited with an amount of ¢700 so I should refund it through a process he will take me through.
I got angry and rained unprintable words on them. It was this juncture that they showed me their true colors as they also hurled insults back at me. But I wasn’t done with them. I called back with my other phone and unleashed more verbal assaults on them. I repeated the same process using different phone numbers throughout the whole day.
The least chance I got, I called their number. Eventually, they switched off their phone but I persisted. I gave out their numbers to my cousins and bought airtime for them so they could also fire them on my behalf. Even at dawn, I continued. I tormented them for six consecutive days until the seventh day when they sounded really frustrated and asked me why I was misbehaving even though they never succeeded in defrauding me.
I told them to find a better work to do and stop stealing people’s hard earned cash. They angrily hanged up. I was forced to give up after those around me begged me stop to my antics since they have probably learnt their lessons.
Then on Monday, July 20 another strange number called me. I was doing something in the kitchen while the phone was being charged so I missed that call. I returned the call when I got to the hall. A young man responded and greeted me in Twi. I responded after which he told me that he called me earlier and wondered why I did not pick because he was calling me from MTN and has an urgent message for me.
I got angry (I instantly knew he was a fraudster) and asked him if he was the one who bought the phone for me for which reason I’ve to be at his beck and call. He sensed danger and hanged up. But the craziness in me won’t let this one too slide without teaching these good for nothing folks a lesson. I repeated the same thing I did to the first fraudster and really frustrated this guy.
He was so angry that he told me he will locate me and shoot me dead or find my mother kill her. That actually intensified my anger as I continued with the same routine and asked others to call and insult them two (they were two young guys). It got to a point when any of my allies called them, they answered and placed the phone near a music source, ostensibly to frustrate us.
On the fourth day- they confessed that I’m a crazy person after which they asked me to stop acting like a mad man. We traded insults for almost twenty minutes. Yes- 20 minutes because I was ready for them. Eventually, I asked them why they got into this game when they could have as well channeled the same energy into a good course. I told them that at least they could use the money they have made so far into a profitable business and shun these criminal acts. Surprisingly they toned down and talked to me calmly. The most vocal one told me he’ll soon stop and start a business. He then asked me where I stayed. They thanked me for my advice and I promised to call them often to check up on them to see if they have really stopped. The first guy who introduced himself as Vim said he and his partner will stop in December but I kicked against it and asked them to stop right away.
NB: Photos used in this story are for illustrative purpose only.