By Saheed Ibrahim
Traders and Point of Sales (PoS) Operators have lamented that the new cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria have made them vulnerable to fraudsters, popularly called Yahoo boys, who use fake credit alerts to dupe them.
They told The Hope during an interview that they have been duped with fake transaction alerts; hence, their fear of taking bank transfers from customers.
The Hope also gathered that many online transactions were still pending due to poor online services of commercial banks, which have added to the woes of traders and bank customers.
This has led to deluge of complaints at various banks by their customers who were swindled.
Some of the unsuspecting victims lamented to The Hope that they have lost several millions of naira and goods to fraudsters.
An Akure PoS operator, Opeyemi Owolabi told The Hope that a fraudster came to her shop to withdraw cash with bank transfer, but the sensitivity of her boss detected the scam.
She said: “On that very day, a customer came to my kiosk to withdraw money. He did bank transfer and I confirmed the credit alert immediately, I did not check maybe it was added to the balance or not.
“God saved me because my boss was there with me and he asked me if I have checked the balance or not. Immediately I checked the balance, the money was not added. Ever since then, I don’t collect transfer from any customer again; it is either you come with your ATM card or no money,” she explained.
Another PoS operator sadly explained how she lost a huge amount of money to fraudsters and she has been indebted ever since.
He said: “I was in my shop when three friends walked in and told me they wanted cash. When I heard the amount they needed, I was so excited because of the charges on it for my boss.
“I gave them the account number, they showed me debit alert on their phone and left. It dawned on me when I noticed the money didn’t reflect in the account when I checked the balance.
“I shouted and all the people in the area came out and told me that I had fallen victim of fake credit.
“I told my boss; she felt sorry but told me that I would have to refund him back. Since then, she has been deducting N5,000 from my monthly salary.
A trader, Nmesomachukwu Godwin said she had been duped five times with fake credit alerts and this made her to stop getting paid with transfer, adding that efforts to get PoS terminal from her bank proved abortive.
I have been experiencing fake credit alerts ever since the naira scarcity started. I don’t have banking application on my phone because anytime I am close to opening it, it kept asking for OTP code and I can’t go to the bank to ask because of the long queue.
“Last week, a customer came in and bought goods worth N2, 500. She said she would give me cash of N500 and transfer N2000 because she was not with cash and I agreed. She did the bank transfer and showed me the debit on her phone and I allowed her to go but the mistake I made was that I forgot to collect her number. Till today, I have not been credited for those goods she bought.”
Similarly, Mrs. Stella Dorcas explained how she was defrauded with fake credit alerts.
Her words: “Multiple times, I have been a victim of fake bank alerts all in the name of cashless policy. One of my experiences recently was when a customer came to get a bottle of wine from my store; worth N10, 000 and made fake bank transfer.
“Before I could realize it, he had left. From that day, I made a rule that anybody who comes to buy anything from me either use PoS or give me cash, he said.”
According to an engineer, Suleiman Rasheed, “there was a client who came to repair laptop, I used my money to buy the materials I used to repair it, saying he will transfer it together with workmanship.
“After I got it done, he said I should call my account number which I did; he showed me the transaction was successful and left. Up till date, I have not seen the money. That was how I got duped with fake credit alert.
Few days ago, a provision seller, Mrs. Akomolafe recalled that she lost goods worth N50, 000 to a fraudster through the same scam.
Other traders, including Mrs Gbamisola Kemi, Mr Oladele Gabriel, Omolabake Loretha have also fallen victims.
When consulted, Google search engine and one of the Yahoo boys revealed that there are applications used to generate fake credit alert, which include Flashfund, Loftysms, Money Prank Pro and Fake Alert Maker For Android, among others.
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