Beware of Online Scammers – Police Cautions Nigerians

The Lagos State Police Command has warned Lagosians and Nigerians over surge in fraudulent activities on popular online marketplaces, leaving buyers susceptible to scams.

According to a statement the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, posted on his X account on Sunday, the recent incident involving a buyer, a scammer, and an innocent seller underscores the necessity for increased vigilance among online consumers.

Hundeyin wrote, “Complaints about this are becoming too frequent.Try not to fall victim! To better understand this, let us agree that Tom is the innocent buyer, Dick is the scammer while Harry is the innocent seller.

“Tom visits a popular online marketplace and sees an item he likes, at a very good price, from a reputable vendor. He calls the number on the vendor’s profile to show interest in buying the item. Dick answers the call and also shows interest in selling to Tom. Unknown to Tom, Dick has no item to sell. Dick simply cloned the account of that reputable vendor. Everything is the same except the phone number.

“Dick then tells Tom, ‘I am not in the shop now. Go to my shop and you will meet my boy. Tell him Dick sent you. Check the item, and if you are satisfied, send payment to the account I will send to you now.’

“Dick also calls Harry and says, ‘Hello I am Dick. I saw item XYZ you put up for sale. I am interested in buying it. I will send someone to come and buy it as I’m not around for now.’

“Fast forward…Harry, surprised, asks, ‘Where are you going with my item? You haven’t paid me.’ Tom replies, I have sent the money to your boss. You can confirm from him.’

“Lesson 1: Buyer should ensure that the person he/she spoke with on the phone and the attendant at the shop (or delivery guy in some cases) both agree on the same account details before payment is made.”