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Crime & Punishment of Friday, 27 June 2014

Source: Graphic Online

Police warn public against fraudsters

The Accra Regional Police Command has advised potential car and land buyers, as well as accommodation seekers, to be cautious of fraudsters.

In recent times, the police have received complaints from some members of the public who have fallen victim to the tricks of fraudsters.

The Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Mr) Freeman Tettey, told the Daily Graphic that based on the reported cases, the police had observed that four different syndicates were in operation.

Internet fraud

The first group, Mr Tettey said, capitalised on the advertisement of cars for sale on the Internet.

He explained that a member of the gang would call the advertised contact number pretending to be the manager of a company or director at a government institution and express interest in buying the car.

According to Mr Tettey, the caller would inform the car seller that he would send a mechanic to test drive and then pay for the car.

The same caller would then present himself as the mechanic and outwit the owner during the test-driving by cleverly abandoning the car owner in a house supposed to be that of the prospective buyer.

The car is then driven off.

Unregistered cars

In the second scenario, a prospective buyer of an advertised unregistered car is impressed upon to go to the bank in the company of the seller to withdraw the money for him to save the buyer from carrying the bulk sum around.

After the payment had been made at the bank’s premises, “the car seller would excuse himself to use the washroom at the bank only to sneak out and drive the car away.

Accommodation seekers

Victims of the third scenario, Mr Tettey said, were people seeking accommodation.

He said the fraudsters acted as accommodation agents and lured people to posh areas where negotiations on rent payment for a house were made and effected and the keys to the house handed over.

However, when the tenant tries to move into the house, he is told that the agent was fake and that the ‘owner’ with whom the tenant negotiated occupancy, rented the house temporarily and had since moved out.

Fake land documents

The last syndicate, Mr Tettey said, duped people by issuing them with fake documents after selling pieces of land to them.

“When the buyer tried to develop the land, they found out that the documents in their possession had been forged.”

Mr Tettey said the fraudsters, who have the slogan “we don’t kill but make people poorer,” are currently on the loose, adding that the CID and other police stations under the Accra Regional Command were handling dozens of such cases.

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