Police Arrest Church Patron Over Alleged Phone Airtime Fraud
Ebenezer Oyeneye has been apprehended by officers of the Lagos Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of the Lagos State Police Command.
The 50-year-old suspect, a patron in a Pentecostal church who is also a truck driver is said to specialise in defrauding unsuspecting members of the public by purchasing airtime via their bank accounts.
A woman was said to have tendered a report at Aguda Divisional Headquarters in Surulere of how an unidentified person has been purchasing airtime via her bank account since July 2016.
According to the complainant who preferred non-disclosure of her identity, the fraudulent act started on July 4, 2016, when she a got a debit alert from her bank that she had purchased airtime of N1,000, a command she claimed she did not send. In her words, “I was amazed when my financial institution notified me of a debit and the same thing continued for 11 months”.
The case was however transferred to the RRS, and this resulted in the apprehension of the suspect who confessed to the crime.
According to the suspect, he lost his job in July 2016, when truck he was using to work was collected from him due to a misunderstanding that ensued between him and the owner.
The suspect disclosed that he tried to recharge his phone with a shortcode and was immediately credited with N1,000 airtime.
Seeing it as a means of tackling his unemployed situation, the greedy suspect 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”, he added.
Speaking further, Ebenezer said “The maximum I can recharge from the account is N3,000 per day because my network provider restricts me to a daily top-up of said amount. I then sell the airtime to customers for physical cash”.
The suspect also revealed that he would have recharged up to N400,000 airtime within the eleven months of carrying out his actions.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent Olarinde Famous-Cole, who confirmed the arrest of the suspect urged members of the public to always speak out and seek financial advice from their individual banks should they notice any unauthorised activities concerning their bank accounts.