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How a Ghanaian businessman was nearly duped of almost $200,000

A Ghanaian businessman by the name, Eric Addai has shared an intriguing story of how he was nearly fleeced of almost $200,000 by some fraudsters.

On the October 20, 2021, edition of the Ekoo Si Sen show on Asempa FM, the businessman who claims to deal in the importation of goods gave a thorough account of how the supposed fraudsters spoofed the mail of his supplier and dealt with him.

 

His narration commenced on how he first received a mail from his supplier, informing him about their decision to change their bank details to how with the help of the FBI, his local bank and other agencies managed to block the withdrawal of the money by the fraudsters.

His story

“I’m a businessman who is into importation of good. I have customers that I supply I goods to. I placed an order for some COVID medications last week. I was waiting for the order when my supplier sent me a message. It wasn’t any surprising message, just a normal message about my family and assurance that my order will be delivered. I replied thinking it’s my supplier. The crucial thing they did was to change just one letter from the mail of my supplier. It is called spoofed email. This is different from hacking.

 

“The next email was to inform me that they are about changing their bank details. They were in the process and would inform me when it’s ready so that I make a note. I was very busy when the mail came so I just replied ok. The next mail was to inform me that they have successfully changed their details. They intercepted the supplier’s email, changed it and sent it to me. They sent two attachments which is a pro-former invoice for payment and a letter from their new bank.

 

“My order was due on October 17 so on the 15th I ordered my bank to make payment. I wrote in red that the payment should be sent to the new account because if they don’t send it early, the people will lose out on the tax rebate and they’ll charge me for it. When I sent the details of payment to my bank, they could not make payment the day I expected because the concession in my account had expired so they needed to apply for a new one at the Bank of Ghana.

 

“Payment was made at 1 pm on Wednesday. When they make a payment you get the TT which they are supposed to give to me. I waited and it wasn’t coming. What I didn’t know was that the Tuesday, my original supplier had sent me a message seeking to speak with me on Thursday. The fraudsters spoofed the mail and removed the time.

 

“I was in London at exactly 5:01 when the call came. I protested that I never had an appointment with my supplier so why was he calling. I told him that I had made payment and I used his new bank details. He raised the alarm that he had not changed his bank details. I went to my mail and read the interactions to him but he rejected it. I sent him a picture of the mail and he asked me to look at the mail again. He said that wasn’t his mail. Right there I started feeling dizzy so I ended the call and called my bank. My bank was good to me. I told them to stop the payment but I was told that payment had already been made. In Ghana, because we don’t have a direct bank for a bank when you make payment, it has to go through another bank before it gets to the final destination. They sent a recall message to the intermediary and the final bank.

 

“I called the bank but couldn’t get the lady but went ahead to call the Switch Board. I told them about the situation. They told me the lady indeed worked with them but was working from home so I should call her. I spoke to the lady and after reading the letter to her she said that her mail has been compromised. Straight away she alerted the fraud department. The money had meanwhile reached the account of the fraudsters. I have a security background so I decided to use my contacts.

 

“I called him and he gave me an FBI contact to call. I called quickly and they sent me a form to fill. They asked me to call the bank which I did and within two hours, the bank had frozen the account of the fraudsters. The authorities were concerned with the legal implications so I had to give them every proof I have. From that time till today, I have sent over 29 emails on my exchanges with the fraudsters as well as my original suppliers. Now I’m waiting for them to effect payment so that I can send it to the original account of my suppliers. What helped me was that there delay in the issuance of the certification. That’s what saved me,” he said.

Lessons

On his advice to businessmen, the man advised Ghanaian businesses to be vigilant and pay attention to details. He also urged them to have a relationship with their banks and also be vigilant to mails.

He also encouraged business persons to have the emergency contact of countries where they deal in the businesses and make note of how they can go about such details.

He has promised to visit the Ministry of Communications and National Security and engage on how such issues can be resolved.

 

Source: www.ghanaweb

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