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Police apprehend mobile phone fraudsters in Lagos

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Two mobile phone fraudsters have been arrested by men of the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting members of the public through an online platform.

We learned that the suspect, Chukwu-Emeka Ogbona and Olabode Kehinde, who were arrested separately, were members of a syndicate that specialised in selling fake phones to buyers.

It was gathered that the suspects’ mode of operation was to advertise expensive phones at a cheaper rate on an online platform, Jiji.com, lure their victims and dispossess them of their valuables.

Our correspondent learnt that the suspects used to lure their victims to Olowu Street in the Ikeja area of the state after convincing them on the online platform, and fraudulently collect money from the intending buyers after showing them the real phones, which they would later substitute with fake ones.

The suspects, who are also phone technicians at the Computer Village, confessed to having sold fake mobile phones to unsuspecting buyers and return fake money to their victims after collecting the real money from them.

One of the suspects, Ogbona, claimed that one Ibrahim, the alleged gang leader, usually advertise on Jiji.com and supply them with the real and fake phones.

He said, “The iPhone X was advertised for N155,000 and the buyer negotiated for N120,000, but because I knew what I wanted to sell to him, I encouraged him to meet me at Olowu after changing the meeting location twice so as to ensure that we were not being baited by the police.

“I showed him the real iPhone X, while the fake phone was in my back pocket. I took the real phone from him for us to conclude the transaction. Meanwhile, I had arranged with other gang members to come around and distract the buyer and 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 that the police baited me and I was arrested on the third day of the fraud. I stopped doing it before, but because I needed money to feed my family, I went back into it. We are many who are into it and we call it street hustling.”

Kehinde was arrested by the decoy team of the Rapid Response Squad of the command for collecting N100,000 and an iPhone 6S from one Obinna, whom he lured to the Computer Village after agreeing to swap the phone for an iPhone X, but ended up giving him a fake phone.

The state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, urged Lagosians to be wary of fraudsters masquerading as phone dealers to dispossess them of their hard-earned money, adding that they should ensure that they obtain receipts with traceable addresses for mobile every mobile phone purchased.

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