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Crime & Punishment of Friday, 4 October 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Police rescue suspected mobile money scammer from angry mob

A mobile money vendor was on Friday afternoon swindled by a suspected scammer of GH¢2,761 at Adabraka, near the Roxy Cinema in Accra.

The victim, Abigail, was left dumbfounded after the incident, and scores of angry residents descended on the suspect, dishing out hefty blows to his face and other parts as they demanded he returns the money.

The suspect, a young man in his early 30s, wearing a multi-coloured T-shirt over a jeans trouser, was visibly shaken as he wore a puffed-up face from the many blows he had taken from the mob who ignored his plea for mercy.

Narrating the incident to Graphic Online, Abigail said the suspect came to her shop seeking to make some mobile money withdrawal.

According to her, the suspect told her that his phone had gone off but needed to call someone before he could withdraw the money, hence pleading with her (the victim) to let him insert his sim in her phone to make the call.

She said she was initially reluctant to give the suspect her phone, but later took the suspect’s sim card and inserted it in her phone.

According to her, the phone could not recognize the suspect’s sim card and so she returned the suspect’s sim card to him and inserted back her own sim card.

Abigail told Graphic Online that shortly after she inserted her sim card back in the phone, she received a call with the caller introducing himself as a staff of MTN head office and wanted to teach her (the victim) how to reverse money in the event that she sent money to a wrong number.

She explained that the supposed MTN head office caller gave her some shortcodes, namely *178# and *171#.

She added that the caller told her to dial the shortcode to see how the 'money reversal' was done, to which, she complied and dialled the first shortcode.

Abigail said after she dialled the first shortcode, she realised that GH¢1,500 had been taken from her account, so she called back the supposed MTN office staff who had called to give her the shortcodes.

She said she was directed by the supposed MTN staff to dial the second shortcode, which she did.

After dialing the second shortcode, however, she realised that another GH¢500 had been taken from her account again, adding that other monies were taken from her account, totalling GH¢2,761.

According to the victim, she became suspicious of the suspect, who was still at her shop, asking him (the suspect) why monies have been deducted from her account.

Abigail said the suspect began to sympathise with her, consoling her to exercise patience and that everything would be fine.

According to the victim, while she was questioning the suspect over the issue, an accredited Mobile Money Agent chanced upon the incident and inquired about the issue.

Abigail said after she briefed the accredited Mobile Money Agent about what had transpired, the accredited agent then confronted the suspect and questioned him why he was trying to dupe the victim, which confrontation attracted scores of the residents in the area to the victim’s shop, with some landing blows and slaps on the victim's face and other parts.

However, the timely intervention of the Adabraka police who had been alerted by a good Samaritan saved the suspect from imminent lynching by the angry residents who appeared ready to do their worst. The police handcuffed the suspect and whisked him away to the police station.