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Lagos police arrest fraudulent online phone sellers

Joy Anyim

Two suspected online scammers believed to be in the habit of advertising expensive mobile phones at cheaper prices on jiji.com and luring buyers to places where they fraudulently dispossessed them of their money in exchange for fake mobile phones were, last Wednesday, arrested by the police.

The suspects, Chukwuemeka Ogbona, 45,  and Olabode Kehinde, 34, both mobile phone technicians at the Computer Village, Ikeja, in Lagos State, were arrested at Olowu Street, Ikeja, in separate incidents.

The duo, who are members of same syndicate, reportedly advertised iphone X, a phone valued at N240,000, for N155,000 to lure buyers into their nets.

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The suspects, along with other gang members, reportedly lured the buyers to locations around Olowu Street and Computer Village, in Ikeja, where they fraudulently collect money from the buyers after showing them the real phone but within a twinkle of an eye substitute it with fake iphone X. The suspects, thereafter, fled the scene leaving their victims stranded.

The suspects also disclosed that apart from advertising on jiji.com, they also fraudulently sell fake mobile phones on the streets around Computer Village to unsuspecting buyers as well as return fake or paper money to their victims after collecting the real money from them.

According to one of the suspects, Ogbona, “The leader of the gang is Ibrahim. He advertised on jiji.com and supplies us with the real iphone X and the fake iphone X.

“The real iphone X is N240,000 while the fake is an android phone made to look like an iphone X. It is N30,000.

“The iphone X was advertised for N155,000. The buyer negotiated for N120,000. Knowing what I want to sell to him, I encouraged him to meet me at Olowu after changing meeting locations twice to ensure that we were not being baited by the police.

“I showed him the real iphone X for him to confirm it while the fake was in my back pocket. I took the real back from him again for us to settle our bargain.

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“Meanwhile, I had arranged with other gang members to come around and distract the attention of the buyer so as to create room for me to swap the real iphone X with the fake version.

“This I did and we shared the victim’s N120,000. Unknown to me the police baited and arrested me the third day of the fraud.”

Ogbona disclosed that although he had stopped the fraudulent practice earlier in the year, the current economic situation forced him back to the crime.

“Times are hard. I stopped doing it before, but I  need money to feed my family. That was why I came back into it. We are many doing it. We call it street hustling. I won’t go back to it if released.”

Similarly, Kehinde was arrested by the Decoy Team of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), for collecting N100,000 and an iphone 6S from one Obinna, who he lured to Computer Village after agreeing to swap them for a iphone X, but ended up fraudulently giving him a fake iphone X.

He also confessed to be a member of the same syndicate. He added that they are many on the streets of Computer Village.

Commenting on the development, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, advised Lagosians to be wary of suspected fraudsters masquerading as phone dealers with view to exploiting them of their hard earned money, adding that they should ensure they obtain receipt with traceable addresses for mobile phones they are buying.

He also warned Lagosians to stop buying fairly used phones whose sources they don’t know.