Online Scam Artists And Cyber Crime Unit Of Nigeria Police | Independent Newspapers Limited
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COLUMNIST, Columnists, On The Prowl

Online Scam Artists And Cyber Crime Unit Of Nigeria Police

Posted: Sep 19, 2015 at 12:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

I want to be educated about the operations of the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Nigeria Police, just a little education because I am very disappointed in their modus operandi.

And because I know there would be a little hesitation about letting the public know how they do their job, I am then tempted to ask these questions: do the operatives in that unit sit back and wait for people to come and complain about a crime or they also on their own go an extra mile to arrest people suspected of engaging in online fraud? Do they have a unit (inside the unit) that prowls online looking for people sending scam mails and other forms of suspicious messages on Facebook and other social media platforms?

I seriously doubt if there are people in the force who sit online looking for scam artists because the brazen nature fraudsters operate these days clearly indicates they have nothing, absolutely nothing to fear about law enforcement.

Every day on Facebook and on Yahoo mail, these daring ‘yahoo boys’ are looking for a gullible person to defraud while our men and officers in the Cyber Crimes Unit continue to sit on their fats asses waiting for people to come to their office to report a crime.

The most popular scam on Facebook is the ‘Customs Auction’. These scam artists open Facebook accounts with the photographs of some Nigeria Customs personnel and advertise (with very bad English) the ‘auction’ of ‘Customs impounded’ cars at a ridiculous amount that will catch the attention of someone desperate to own a car. Now read this message from one ‘Johnson Adekunle’ (definitely not his/her real names) “Morning friends, its (sic) another opportunity for you to have a vehicle as auction reopen. Get a HONDA ACCORD BABY BOY 2001 model for as low as #300, 000 and TOYOTA COROLLA 2006 model
#550000. Call Superintendent ADEKUNLE JOHNSON on 09033838445 or 09039595927 for more inquiries and for purchase. Other vehicles are also available with negotiable prices and delivery services are been (sic) rendered with your complete clearance papers and plate number registrations of various cities.”

You also need to read from another ‘Customs’ official trying to sell more ‘impounded’ cars. This time, he is ‘Ademola ‘Micheal’ (he actually got the spelling of Michael wrong. “BONAZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NEAT CARS FOR SALES AT CHEAP AND AFFORDABLE PRICE, READILY BUYERS SHOULD PLEASE CONTACT ON OGBONNA (O8O69172147) E.G. Golf2, 3, 4, from N150, 000-N250, 000 Toyota Camry big. Daddy=N450, 000 Honda accord baby boy=N550, 000. Toyota Matrix=N580, 000 Toyota Prado=N600, 000 Toyota. HiaceBus=N800, 000 Toyota Avalon=N 630, 00. Toyota Corolla=N400, 000 Mazda=N 480,000 Honda Accord end of discussion =N400, 000 Honda Evil Spirit =N560, 000 Toyota Camry. 2.2(Tiny Light) =N300, 000 Toyota Avensis=N690, 00. 0, Rav4=N700,000, Toyota Sienna=N670,000, Toyota Highlander=N800,000 ,Murano=N630,000 Pathfinder=N730,000, Infinity Jeepfx35=N750,000 & fx45=590,000 Mercedes Benz ML350=N670,000 Bags of rice- 1 Bag per N4,500 Bags of Beans- 1 Bag per N4,000 and packs of Tin Tomatoes AND MANY MORE EXCLUSIVE”

Now, if really our Cyber Crimes Unit operatives are online looking for suspected criminals, what does it take for one of the operatives to pose as a buyer since the ‘Customs’ auctioneers always leaves a calling card behind in the form of mobile numbers? And now that all mobile telecommunications companies and the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, have compelled mobile phone owners to register their lines, does it not make the job of identifying the face behind the phone numbers easier? At least, that is a clue to work on.

 Both Adekunle Johnson and Ademola ‘Micheal’ are just two of over two thousand suspected scam artists scavenging online to fleece unsuspecting people. The most popular scam on Yahoo these days is the ‘Love Scam’. I get over three emails from people who “saw my profile on Facebook” and they fell in ‘love’ with me and I should “please reply” for them to tell me “more about” themselves and also “send pictures” too. Is that not sweet? I never knew when I became a celebrity or a handsome Nollywood actor like Ramsey Nouah that someone would see my profile on Facebook and just ‘fall in love’ with me.

Out of curiosity and an instinct for adventure, I opened a new email account with an American name and replied to that email that sent me that ego boosting message. The reply that came was expected. Accompanied by three pictures of a beautiful girl of about 22, ‘she’ told a heart wrenching story of how ‘her’ father, a top government official died in an air crash in Ivory Coast (a link to the story was sent for good measure). ‘Her’ father’s relations are now after ‘her’ inheritance left in a bank’s vault in Burkina Faso. By the way, ‘she’ is at a refugee camp in Burkina Faso where the camp master is the one with the mobile phone she uses to communicate, just in case I want to reach ‘her’ on how I would act as ‘next of kin’ to collect the money and help her invest in my country as ‘she’ is 17 years and ‘her’ refugee status does not allow ‘her’ to handle a large cash amount to the sum of $6 million dollars! I must the luckiest man on earth! That kind of money out of the blues was about to land on my laps and all I need do was be the ‘next of kin’ to a 17 year old ‘girl’ in a refugee camp in faraway Burkina Faso, sign some papers and the money would be wired to my account, just like that!

‘She’ gave the number of the ‘refugee camp’ master who I know is one young Nigerian boy holding a roamed Burkina Faso mobile number. All these I did and I am not an operative of the Cyber Crimes Unit with the backup of personnel and technology (I assume).

If these law enforcement men are not lazy or they really do not give a damn, entrapping and arresting these ‘Customs officials’ selling ‘impounded’ cars on Facebook as well as those engaged in Love Scam is a piece of cake. 

On The Prowl with Justin Akpovi-Esade,