Police await complainants as jobs scammers step up their games

2016-04-18
THE NATION Newspaper


They go by all kinds of phoney names: Boss Resources, Zeolite Plus, BGL Group and BG Resources. All of them operate from 6, Akinremi Street, off Awolowo Way, Ikeja. The address is not the only thing they have in common. Deceit also unites them. Daily they send bulk sms to phone numbers inviting people for job interview when they never sent an application letters.

The Nation discovered that many of these phony agencies are all over Lagos, duping unsuspecting applicants.

They also include CEO Resources Nigeria Limited, located at 203, Favour Street, opposite Oando filling station, Pen Cinema, Agege; NSMI Global Concept at 1-6 Alhaji Lateef Sulaimon Street, Owode Onirin market, Kosofe; Virtual Human Resources Limited, 5, Akpomuje, Okoto Oshodi; and Medpro Global Resources, 161, Ikorodu Road, Onipanu Bus/Stop.

To avoid suspicion, their sms usually indicates that the invitation is “based on referral”. They get phone numbers from National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) bronchure and other sources. The motive is to get desperate job seekers to pay between N2,500 and N10,000 for registration and jobs contacts.

Everyday some innocent job seekers fall into the net of these cheats who employ “motivational speakers” to give the applicants a false hope of how they can make hundreds of thousands by being part of the organisation.

This reporter participated in some of the seminars organised by these fraudsters and got to know their modus operandi.



Day one

Locating No 6 Akinremi Street, opposite New Garage, off Awolowo Street, Ikeja by this reporter was not difficult. The one-storey building is located on the left side of the street. It is an old building which houses two twin flats. One is residential and the other harbours the operating office of Boss Resources. The office is also used by Zeolite Plus, BGL-Group and BG Resources all run by the same set of people. Any of this business names is used to invite participants daily.

This reporter arrived the place around 11 am; a time The Nation later learnt was odd, because all appointments are slated for between 8am and 9am. His entrance, therefore, raised a suspicion and a petite young woman accosted him and requested how she could be of help. After narrating his mission, explaining that he came late because he was in Abuja when the SMS was sent, he was asked to report the following day at 8am, with a warning that the organisation is very strict about time.

Day two

As early as 7:30am, this reporter was at the office where he met four others who were already seated, waiting to be ushered in. A woman who later identified herself as Promise attended to everybody. There was a mild drama less than 10 minutes after this reporter arrived. A colleague who had worked with the reporter at Champion strolled in and exchanged pleasantries with the reporter.

According to her, if anybody has any question to ask, such a question should be directed to her. Promise, a light-skinned woman of about 24 years, was not only authoritative but very strict with a frank face throughout.

At 8.45 a.m. about 23 people were already seated. It is mandatory for everybody to clear himself or herself from Promise. Compulsorily, you must show Promise your SMS message and register your name and phone number on a register.

When it was 9:40am, a short guy announced that all those who came for the first time should move to the back of the building. Those who came a day earlier were asked to retain their seats. After another one hour, they were ushered in for a marathon lecture.

A woman who identified herself as Abigail handled the first session. A form was given to all the 16 men and eight women. There were five questions on the form. The first was to define what is job and opportunity.

Another question was: “Do you want to be an employee or a partner?” and finally: “Where do you want to find yourself in the next five years?” After 30 minutes, the form was collected and the second speaker who identified herself as Miss Ramah took over.

Ramah played a video tape of Pastor Sam Adeyemi’s lecture on how to be a business man. Before the commencement of the video show, she told the participant how she left her lucrative job as a broadcaster with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 10 to come and team up with Boss Resources and now earns N200, 000 monthly, aside allowances of N400,000.

For about 20 minutes, Pastor Adeyemi’s lecture centered on how to flourish as a business man with the right attitude and right mind set. He explained that the more entrepreneurial you are the more successful you get in business, noting that the right attitude is the only key to a successful business. He regretted that “the more we are educated in the country, the less enterprising we are”.

After the lecture, it was question time.

Ms Rahman, who was wearing a hijab, practically reproduced Pastor Adeyemi’s lecture.

At a point, a participant was fiddling with her phone. Rahman scolded her and threatened to send her out as the programme was not for everybody but only the diligent and upright.

After Ms Rahman, Olumide Oyebowale, who claimed to be a 2005 graduate of Physics from the Ekiti State University, delivered his lecture. Oyebowale must have mastered his art. His delivery was fearless. Smooth.

He said he joined the company two years ago, with a remuneration of N31, 000, which has increased to N400,000 his allowances at half a million naira.

At the end of the lecture that lasted for three hours 20 minutes, another form was given to everybody to fill, after which each person was ushered in another office for the final briefing and from that end you are told that the company had selected you for the final interview. The participant were warned to go home because they could not wait in the vicinity. This was done so that the participant would not have the opportunity to discuss.

Day three

Instead of joining the rest of the group on the third day, this reporter sent a text message to the agency that he could not honour the next day’s interview due to family pressure. This reporter was granted the grace to appear on a Friday.

The Friday session started as early as 8:30am with a new group. There were about 18, including five women.

The participant were urshered into a stuffy room. The windows were closed. Many were sweating but they could not complain. At a point, another of Pastor Adeyemi’s recorded lecture was played. The participants were instructed to listen attentively as questions would be asked later.

A man who identified himself as Obafemi Bankole regalled the participants with the good time ahead of them, adding that one could not be admitted into the company without a commitment, which would give such a person all the rights and privileges.

He said the registration fee was N14,000. In addition, those who want to be unit leader would be given the opportunity, if they could pay N14,000 in cash. He thereafter urged those who want to do so to raise their hands.

Disappointed that no hand was raised up, Bankole shook his head. Only four people came out, including this reporter. They were directed to another room where two men were waiting. Two people were allowed to enter at once. Two POS machines belonging to Access Bank were on the table for those who want to pay with their ATM cards. This reporter paid N5,000 cash with the promise to balance up.

Day four

On the day of induction, this reporter hid in a pool betting office opposite the company to monitor who went in and out. As usual, many new entrants came in. Unfortunately, there was no induction because about five people turned up and claimed they were ready for the induction but could not pay the full registration fee of N14, 000.

Speaking to this reporter later, one of the participants, who simply identified himself as Mr. Adewale, said he raised N10,000 out of the registration fee but was not allowed to participate in the induction. He complained that he was not allowed into any of the offices but asked to call. According to him, each time he called the number, it was permanently switched off.

Inside Beyond Stardom and other scammers

This reporter also visited Beyond Stardom Nigeria Limited on No 505 Ikorodu Road, Lagos, Opposite Skye Bank Plc. The modus Operandi was similar, but the induction was not as thorough as Boss Resoources.

The co-ordinator, who simply identified himself as Mr. Godwin, said they had links across the country and they were a consortium employing good hands for banks and corporate companies.

At the end of the tutorial, each participant was asked to pay N5,000 and a form was distributed for those who paid, including this reporter, with the assurance that in a few days they would be connected with those looking for their services.

After five days, this reporter received a text message that he should proceed to a location on the Island where a company was looking for a marketing expert. When the reporter got to the designated address, the only office with that address was where a woman was selling plastic items. He immediately called the coordinator but his line was switched off.

Police: no complaint yet

Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Dolapo Badmos said the police had not received any complaint.

Officer Badmos said: “There must be a report, in the first instance, and for such a report the police will like to investigate in order to apprehend the culprit. If anyone is being duped along that line, it is expected that such people should make a report. I don’t have such a report on my table now.

“This era of internet is funny, that somebody will be asked to pay certain amount before he could be given a job and people will fall for such a scam? People need to do verification and confirm the office before venturing into such a gamble. People should not be gullible; you must do investigation and know who you are dealing with.

“If somebody tells you he is offering opportunity, not a job, you are supposed to know that it is a scam. You know the people you are dealing with; people are capitalising on the ignorance of the people and duping them. If they report the case to the police, we will investigate the matter. There is no case reported on the issue.”

A security consultant, Mr. Tony Igiebor, said two of his cousins had fallen victim to such scams, adding that if the police were alive to their responsibilities, they ought to have apprehended the culprits.

“Unfortunately there is poor intelligent gathering in today’s policing and that is why most of the crimes might have been committed before you see any reaction from the police. In a case like this, don’t be surprised that some of the bad eggs among them can be feeding on this. Again, you may not blame them outrightly; where are the personnel to do undercover and get these people nabbed?”

 

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