By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS—Operatives of the Lagos Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a man, who specialised in defrauding victims through phone credit’s recharge from other people’s bank accounts.
The suspect, Ebenezer Oyeneye, a 50-year-old truck driver, who resides at Moyinoluwa Avenue, Ijoko Lemode, Ogun State, was arrested by an RRS’s decoy team.
It was reported at Aguda Divisional Headquarters in Surulere that a woman, who preferred to remain anonymous, reported that an unknown person had been buying phone airtime from her bank account since July 2016.
The victim complained about the frequency and huge sums debited from her bank account as the person kept purchasing credit (top-up).
According to the victim, the fraud began on July 4, 2016 when she received a debit alert from her bank that she had recharged her phone with N1,000 call credit, when she did not send any such command or initiated such transaction.
She said: “I was amazed when my financial institution notified me of a debit and the same thing continued for 11 months.”
The woman filed the case at Aguda Divisional Headquarters, Aguda, Surulere, from where it was transferred to RRS.
This led to the arrest of the suspect, Ebenezer, whose low level academic qualification belied his involvement in such sophisticated crime.
He confessed that in July 2016, after the truck he was driving was taken from him by the owner due to a misunderstanding, he had nothing to live on and meet his family needs.
He then found a means of livelihood when he tried to recharge his phone line with a short code and was credited with N1,000 airtime immediately.
He said: “I tried it the following day and N3,000 was credited to my phone line. So I continue daily for months.
“I became so overwhelmed by the value of my call credit balance and resorted to selling airtime to people around me before I was blocked off.
“The maximum I can recharge from the account is N3,000 per day, because my network provider restrict me to a daily top-up of said amount. I then sell the airtime to customers for physical cash.”
The suspect, a patron of a popular Pentecostal church around Otta Area of Ogun State, confessed to have been sharing his loot with his wife and calling his mistresses as a big man with plenty of airtime.
Asked the amount he had recharged within 11 months of his escapade, Ebenezer said he knew he would have recharged up to N400,000, because he never gave too much break from the ‘profitable’ business.
Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent Olarinde Famous-Cole, advised members of the public to seek professional advice from their financial institutions before connecting their bank account to any online transaction and report immediately they notice any case of strange activities on their bank account to the necessary authorities.