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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Before you send that PIN numbers

By Remmy Nweke

RECENTLY, Ms Ngozi, a factory worker in a Lagos suburb, Isolo, received a call from unknown fellow who claimed her Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) phone number was provided to him by her relative residing abroad for a possible contact on arrival in the country and to give her some foreign currencies for upkeeps.

She definitely jumped at the offer by agreeing to meet with the fellow in two days time at an address to be disclosed later. But before the day runs off the same fellow called again to reassure her that the ‘gift’ was intact.

A day to the meeting, another call was received by Ms Ngozi to restate confidence on the proposed deal.

However, on the d-day, Ngozi woke very early to a phone call from the same fellow reminding her of the day’s business with a clause that he is stocked somewhere, invariably outside Lagos that would require him to pay between N5,000 and N10,000, an estimated $50 and $90, in order to find his way to the city, change the foreign currency and settle her.

In essence, she was asked to buy a recharge card of N5,000 and above, scratch off the sliver coated colour on top of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) codes, and send to him to be sold and then have local currency, with which to make it back to Lagos, where the foreign currency could be exchanged, even as a make up would be provided for the value of recharge card PIN sent.

Basic questions for anybody who receives this kind of call should include the reason behind such a fellow – caller – decision to see her two days after arrival, instead of asking that they meet at the international airport, for instance, where such currency could be changed instantly.

Secondly, the possibility of traveling to rural area without sufficient plan financially should not be taken for granted.

However, it is advisable that whoever is behind this plot has some private information about you, therefore must have known you.

The first thing to do on getting such a call, is to put a call to whoever was purposed to had sent the money via the caller, in order to even ascertain if actually something was sent to you and what was the exact message value herein.

Though the appropriate thing to do is to report suspicious moves or callers to the nearest police station, yet self alert is very crucial.

Above all, be on guide as that is the only way to detect such plots on time, so as to avoid being a victim, like Ms. Ngozi, who eventually realized too late after sending the required recharge PIN codes of the value she could afford, only to be told by the receiver when next she called that he did not know what she, Ngozi, was talking about and in fact, that the line she called is a business center.

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