How Fraudsters Use VIP Parcel Service to Scam Online Buyers in Ghana [True Life Story]
This is a real-life incident that happened to an unsuspecting victim on Friday, 14th August 2020.
HOW IT HAPPENED
This person who was scammed happened to be searching online for a good laptop for his work. After scrolling through the tonaton site, he came across an HP Envy Gaming Laptop selling at GHC 1050.
The victim was skeptical about the price of the laptop because it sounded too good to be true. So he asked for the price from other dealers to compare. Surprisingly, most of the sellers were selling it for more than GHC 1000. The victim thought these sellers had gotten a great deal to be selling the laptop at such a price.
Because he lacked sufficient funds, he found it a good offer and decided to contact one of those selling the device for more information about it.
With no prior knowledge, he called the seller whose name is Sylvester by phone on 0261013804 to ask if the laptop was still available. Sylvester confirmed the availability of the laptop. The victim wanted to be certain that the laptop was new as seen on the tonaton site. Sylvester assured him that all he was seeing was correct and that the company he works for is running a promotion hence the low prices.
Sylvester made the victim aware that the company was situated at Akosombo, hence he would have to send the laptop via the VIP bus.
I started doubting when Sylvester made me know the company was outside Accra. However, the fraudster Sylvester notified the victim that the laptop will be given to the driver and payments will be made upon delivery. The victim agrees to that arrangement. The fraudster sent pictures of the laptop giving details about the spec through WhatsApp.
Again, The fraudster asked for a video call to ascertain the genuineness before packaging it and sending it to the VIP bus terminal.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE BUS TERMINAL
After the video call, the fraudster informed the victim he was going to send the parcel and that he was going to alert the victim once he was there, to give him the details of the driver and the car number. The victim spoke to a driver named Osofo Isaac
This driver stated that the package needed to go through the parcel office for it to be verified before they can send it where ever they are going.
The fraudster also called the victim to update him on the new development of sending the package through the VIP Parcel office instead. The victim had to pay the cost of the package fee at the VIP office.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE OFFICE
Sylvester called the victim to inform him that after weighing the parcel the cost was 30 cedis and that he had to pay for that. The victim had to pay the money to a Momo merchant by the name of Bernard Boateng because the fraudster had not registered for mobile money. After sending it, the fraudster called to confirm the payment.
PARCEL OFFICE CALLS
The parcel office called the victim to alert him of a package that has been left for him. The caller assured him they will bear the cost of any damage to the laptop. He later mentioned the victim’s name and asked him to confirm if he was the one. After that, he was sent a message.
HOW HE WAS DUPED
The parcel office told the victim they couldn’t take Sylvester’s money for him because they just deal with parcels. Hence the victim had to find a way of sorting Sylvester out.
After showing pictures that show that the package was secured at the parcel office, the victim had to inform the driver of the code on the parcel so he could go for it. The victim called Sylvester to ask for the code but he wanted to know how he will get his money. The driver also had to leave because his departing time was delaying.
After some back and forth he released the code and the victim gave it to the driver. The driver assured him he will get to Accra at 1pm that is because it was a 3 hour journey.
After confirming that the package was on its way, the victim called the fraudster and he paid through the Momo merchant from earlier.
The victim went to Circle to wait for the driver. He called the driver after 1:30; to ask about his whereabouts. The driver informed him that he was around but was parking. After some time he called again but the driver was angry saying he could have endangered the lives of the passengers.
AT THE VIP PARCEL OFFICE
Happy to have his parcel, the victim went to the office to claim his package. After greeting the personnel at the parcel office, he inquired if a parcel from their Akosombo office had arrived there. The gentlemen asked if he placed an order on tonaton to which he replied yes. He was told point blank that he had been duped. He could not believe it. Apparently, he has not been the first victim nor will he be the last.
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