Don’t be hushpuppied!

“Bad things
It’s a lot of bad things
That they wishin’ on me”
-Lyrics of God’s Plan by American singer, Drake.

A true story
At at a bank in Abuja, a cashier tried unsuccessfully to access the school fees payment platform of an Edo state based university.
“Sir”, she finally said, ” Do you have an account with us. I am having a challenge accessing the university’s payment portal.”
“I do. But is dormant.” Responded Obaseki who wanted to pay her daughter’s school fees.
“That’s not a problem. Go to the customer service desk and it will be reactivated in a few minutes. You can then pay the cash into the account and I would do the transfer later. Here is my number in case you need to reach me.”
John did as advised and left the bank happy.

However, just before close of banking hours, he began to receive debits alerts in tranches of between twenty and forty thousand naira. They were for purchase of items on an e-commerce platform.
“What the hell,” Obaseki screamed as he did a dangerous u-turn on the high way and drove straight back to the bank. He was so agitated that he did not remember to place a call to the cashier who attended to him.
By the time he got there with his heart panting, just a few seconds before the bank doors would be shut, about a hundred thousand had disappeared from his account.

Obaseki rushed to the counter of the lady that attended to him earlier screaming, “block my account, block my account immediately.”

“What is the problem sir?”
“Just block the damn account first”
The cashier nervously looked up the account information from the form earlier filled by Obaseki and blocked the account.

“Sir, did you give your account details to somebody else?”, asked the cashier.
Obaseki felt like punching the cashier in the mouth.
“How can I give the details of a dormant account I have not used for five year to anyone? He asked, battling to contain his anger.

Another true story.
Dupe was chatting a with a friend in her Garki market shop when a call came in. It was from her bank. How did she know that? She saved the number as “my bank customer care.”
” Good afternoon madam Dupe”, said the male caller.” Why have you not responded to the email we sent to you about your account.”

“What is wrong with my account?”
“There is an attempt to compromise it ma. Please follow the link we sent to you to reset your password”.

“Okay. Thanks. I will do so right away”.
A few minutes after resetting her password with the link embedded in the email sent to her, she got a debit alert of N39,900.

She dialed the same customer care number that called her immediately. This time it was the voice of a female that answered.
“Welcome to ….. Bank. My name is ….. How may I help you.”

“You people called me a few minutes ago asking me to reset my password. Now my account has been debited by N39,900. What is going on.”

Dupe then provided the account number and answered a few questions.
“Madam, I can confirm the debit but there is no record that we called you earlier.”

“What are you talking about. It is the same number that your bank called me with that I have used to call you.”

“Madam, madam, please calm down.”
Dupe cut the call immediately and headed to the bank.

The investigations
The debits on Obaseki’s account originated from a purchases on an e-commerce platform in Russia. The facts of the case were straight forward. Obaseki did nothing to compromise his account. After about two weeks of agonising back and forth, his account was credited with the debited amount.

On the other hand, the debit on Dupe’s account originated from a purchase on e-commerce platform in Poland. As at the time of writing, her money has still not been refunded perhaps due to the fact that she took part, inadvertently, in compromising her account.

Don’t be hushpuppied. Protect your money.
Life is difficult in Nigeria. This year, covid-19 has made things worse. Having worked hard to make some money, you don’t want to be hushpuppied?
Stay awake to the antics of crooks, who according to Drake, are “wishing a lot of bad things on you.” Scammers use fear and greed to make you do what you should ordinarily be concerned about.

Therefore, pay attention to the following:

  1. Banks hardly call their customers. Even if you receive a call purportedly from your bank demanding for a certain action on your account, don’t provide any personal details to the caller. Go to your bank to follow up on whatever issue raised.
  2. Banks send a lot of emails and this has led to the upsurge of phony emails by crooks who want to clean out bank accounts. NEVER CLICK on a link in an email, purportedly from your bank that will require you to provided sensitive financial details like password or bank card numbers.
  3. Do not listen to callers who tell you that a family member has been involved in an accident and admitted in a hospital requiring a deposit before treatment.
  4. Do not listen to callers offering jobs or contracts. Ask them to offer such contracts or jobs to members of their family.
  5. Never act on text messages or listen to callers about some bogus palliatives from government. You will end up giving a scum bag a palliative from the little money you have.
    Bottom line: DON’T BE A MUGU! Protect your hard earned money.

About author
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Newspackng.
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