The Police in Anambra State Southeast Nigeria said they have arrested two suspects – one Dr Madu Ifeanyi, 50, and Linus Onyekwere, 60, for fraudulently obtaining the sum of N1.4 million from one Emmanuel Anaemene.
According to the police, the suspects were part of a fraud syndicate who claimed they had a Commonwealth loaning program where an investor pays N500,000 and gets N1 million in return as interest after one month.
Nigerians have often fallen victims of people who peddle Ponzi scheme to make more money.
In 2016, as Nigeria slid into an economic recession, MMM, a popular Ponzi scheme used a peer-to-peer lending system to scam over three million people. The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) estimated that around ₦18 billion ($49.3 million) was lost when MMM shut down in December 2016.
In 2019, Racksterly, a similar Ponzi scheme also grew quietly, according to reports on Facebook by the half of that year but collapsed in Jan. 2020 after Flutterwave and Paystack blocked it from accepting payments from subscribers.
Haruna Mohammed, a Chief Superintendent of Police and Police Public Relations Officer said the two men also claimed they were executing contracts with “former President Goodluck Jonathan” but the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) requested them to pay N20 million before the contract money will be paid to them.
“They told the suspect to bring another sum of N500,000 as others have done to enable them to raise the N20 million needed by CBN to enable them to get the money.
“The complainant said he has so far given them the sum of N1.4 million since Sept. 2020 and has neither received any interest nor the principal money he invested,” Mohammed said.
“He has been making several calls to the two suspects till the time of their arrests but they have not been picking his calls, the complainant further alleged that he is aware of many unsuspecting persons that have been to the house of the suspects to do similar investment oblivious of their fraudulent motives.”
In the first quarter of 2020, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) warned Nigerians to stop patronising unlicensed financial institutions popularly known as wonder banks.
“For the avoidance of doubt, these wonder banks are neither licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nor are they under the NDIC deposit insurance scheme,” Umaru Ibrahim, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NDIC had warned.
According to him, the command had uncovered a new method some fraudsters who migrate from state to state used to dispossess innocent citizens of their hard-earned money via dubious means
He said the fraudsters get their unsuspecting victims through sending out bogus links or fake investment adverts on social media platforms to get their vital information.
“One of the methods used by these syndicates is to block the phone lines of their victims account for hours, clone it or re-register the number to generate the customer’s pin and thereafter drain all the money in that account within the shortest period of time,” he stated.
He warned against clicking on such links and divulging their Biometric Identification Number (BVN), National Identification Numbers( NIN) or date of birth because it could give the fraudsters access to their bank accounts and they could empty them through electronic means.
“The Command had issued a similar alert in Sept. 2020 where fraudsters disguised as CBN staff in-charge of all bank transactions which is non-existent and place phone calls to their targets whose biodata was downloaded either through Facebook or other social media platforms,” Mohammed said.
“They demand their date of birth or BVN from them in order to gain access to their targets account numbers thereby transferring all the money into another account through electronic means,” he stated.
He said members of the public who fall victim of such syndicates, were enjoined to immediately report at the Police Area Command headquarters, Onitsha to enable the Police to carry out a discreet investigation and bring perpetrators to justice.