Home Opinion Ehichioya Ezomon: Beware, scammers on prowl. How I fell victim (3)

Ehichioya Ezomon: Beware, scammers on prowl. How I fell victim (3)

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By Ehichioya Ezomon
Like many participants would admit, I didn’t know who added my number to the “Opay Investment Funds” (‘Opay IF’) platform on April 13, 2021, but I followed up on interactions and exchanges by participants and the site ‘administrators’.
  My observation as a passive participant lasted for 15 days (April 13 and April 28, 2021). Then, I became active, chatted, and engaged in phone or voice calls for five days (April 28-May 1, 2021).
  On April 30 at 12:23 pm, ‘Head of Admin’, “Emeka Nwafor”, posted a message to my WhatsApp page, and after the pleasantries, I asked if we could do a deal, to which he said, “A deal like what?”
  I said: “As I told you the last time on phone, you’re selling two commodities: ‘Risk and Trust’. Right? But there’s a third commodity, which you’re not selling but want to buy.”
  “So, what can I do for you?” he said, and I replied: “Here’s the deal. Can you lend me some money to invest in your scheme? Once there’s ROI (return on investment), you get your money back instantly. Then, the deal will proceed from there.”
  ‘Mr Nwafor’ fired back. “Hello Mr Man, this is no charity home, not give-one-to-get-one, no or MMM. This is binary trading, it’s your responsibility to be financially free, not mine.
  “Moreover, we don’t give new investors that treatment (loans). You’re only entitled to enjoy that benefit if you have invested more than once in the platform. I have old customers who I lend (sic) some money today. You enjoy benefits you deserve.”
  Telling him he misconstrued me, I said: “If I were you, I’d want to know what it’s (deal). And also, wouldn’t you want to know the identity of the person you’re chatting with?”
  ‘Mr Nwafor’ replied: “This is business my friend. It takes two to agree. We don’t give such privilege (loans) to new investors, that’s why we have different packages.
  “I know you’re scared due to may be past experiences, but I want you to give me a benefit of a (sic) doubt. That’s why I will encourage you to start small and see with your eyes. They say seeing is believing.”
  I told him I wasn’t scared, even though I had family members who lost money in MMM, reminding him that I had only N20,000, short of N30,000 of the minimum investable N50,000.
  ‘Mr Nwafor’ stated that his wife was also a victim of MMM. “We lost millions too. She (wife) used her meeting (group’s) money and everything falls down to my head. That’s life for you,” he said.
  Sensing no headway in the loan matter, I pivoted to the issue of “Testimonial” as different from “testimonies” given by those that claimed to have “received” returns on investments.
  Once again, ‘Mr Nwafor’ misinterpreted my intention as asking him to disclose the company’s secrets, refusing to buy into the idea of a “Testimonial” as “a sort of Certificate you can show to the world as to the genuineness of your scheme.”
  He retorted: “Sir, these are company private documents, how do you expect me to disclose it (sic) like that, do you want scammers to take advantage of it… Are you one of them, sorry to say? We don’t disclose that.”
  “What? Did I ask for any disclosure of your company’s matters? I didn’t,” I said, to which he replied: “Please Mr Man, you sound suspicious. If you’re not interested, kindly, exit the platform quietly ok. One thing you should know is, if you invest, I will earn, if you don’t invest, I will still earn.”
  “So… you’re suspecting me?” I said, adding, “You’re wrong. Because I mentioned ‘a sort of Certificate,’ you turned it into asking you to disclose company secrets. Which business does that?”
  “What certificate do you need to make an investment of N50k? We have investors who invested millions and they get credited,” he said, ignoring my “I told you to forget (or KIV) the loan matter.”
  “Is this your first time of hearing about Opay in this country?” he said. “I have met someone like you, we ended up becoming good friends after his first investment… So, when you complete the N50k, give me a call, and I assure you will celebrate like others are doing.”
  I could picture an incensed ‘Mr Nwafor’, a smirk on his face in front of his computer or whatever device he’s using, trying to figure out the kind of inquisitive fellow he’s dealing with on the other side.
  My insistence on his misreading my intention on his alleged “Certificate” for a N50,000 investment cut no ice with ‘Mr Nwafor,’ who told me, “No, problem sir. Sorry sir, we don’t do that here. Let me know when you’re ready.”
  “Oh yes, definitely! When I’m ready to invest, I will let you know,” I said, trying to re-litigate his skipping to know who I was, as he suspected me, from his business perspective, to be a scammer.
  Time was 2:25 pm, and I wished his family the best regards of the season. He replied at 3:33 pm, saying: “Thank you very much sir. My regards to your family too. Will be expecting your call ok.”
  I returned to chat at 10:05 pm, and asked ‘Mr Nwafor’ when it’s appropriate to register to invest in the scheme, informing him that someone, who wanted to invest “big,” had topped my fund.
  He wasn’t interested in an abstract investor that “topped” my N20,000 with N30,000, but said: “Alright sir, you will make your investment in the morning ok. Good night to you.” Time was 11:28 pm, April 30.
  At 8:13 am on Saturday, May 1, ‘Mr Nwafor’ made a voice call that I missed, as I came online at 9:38 amAt 9:47 am, he chatted: “Why are you appearing offline?” Momentarily he said, “Alright,” and posted the “necessary details… to drop registration form,” and advised, “Kindly fill up with your details for registration, ok?”
  And underneath, ‘Mr Nwafor’ wrote: “This is the company accountant (sic) bank details you’re paying into: CAROLINE ADEOYE NO: (2400326184) ZENITH BANK. Make your payment now and send me the proof for confirmation.” Time was 10:43 am.
  Indeed, I set about transferring the N50,000 in N20,000, N20,000 and N10,000. And at 10:56 am, I sent the “screen-grabs of proof of payment of N50,000 (20k, 20k and 10k).”
  At 10:58 am, ‘Mr Nwafor’ wrote: “Alright sir, please hold on let me confirm it (payment) ok,” and at 11:00 am, he said, “Your payment has been confirmed sir. Let me start your investment right away, I will call you back shortly sir.” I replied: “Okay, Thanks.”
  At 11:14 am, he wrote: “I am working on it sir, and it’s going on well, expect your alert around 3 pm today.” That’s barely four hours away, and I said: “Okay. I’m waiting. Thanks. Regards. God bless.”
  At 11:16 am, ‘Mr Nwafor’ chatted: “Sir I hope you do receive alerts? Please you will share your testimony as others are doing immediately you have confirmed your payment.”
  My response was: “Yes, I do. Okay. No problem. I will do that as soon as I receive the alert. Thanks.” And he wrote: “You’re welcome “Mr Ezomon.” That’s was at 11:19 am on Saturday, May 1, 2021, and the last time ‘Mr Nwafor’ communicated with me till date.
  LAST LINE: Next: I waited for 48 hours, “hoping against hope,” that “Opay Investment Funds” would credit my account with N100,000, as return on investment of N50,000. Then, I posted a message to the WhatsApp page of the ‘Head of Admin,’ “Emeka Nwafor”.
Mr. Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos