It seems there is an unprecedented rise in the activities of fraudsters and their numerous schemes in recent times. Thousands of Ghanaians have fallen victim to the pranks of fraudsters, and many more continue to suffer huge economic losses after their unfortunate encounters with these fraudsters, who operate on daily basis.
How does it happen anyway? Usually victims of fraud are people who are engaged in successful businesses or promising professional careers. Some business tycoons, staff of renowned financial institutions, pastors, traders, security personnel and many others, have had their stories to tell and it is mind-boggling how these categories of people fall to such schemes.
What then is fraud? Issues of fraud are all offences against rights of property or offences involving dishonesty. It requires a false representation made to another with intent to deprive that person of something of value, whether money, chattel and thus causing some economic loss. The representation may take the form of forgery, falsification of document or any unlawful act with the mind of defrauding (deceiving) the person to believe that the representation is true, the fraudster knowing very well that that the representation does not exist or is false.
A person may be defrauded in so many forms ? either by false presences, impersonation, through fictitious trading, among others.
Defrauding By False Presences
Per Section 132 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act (Act 29/60), fraud by false pretence occurs when by a false representation or impersonation, a person obtains the consent of another to part with or transfer the ownership of a thing with the intention to defraud. The representation may either be verbal, in a written form, impersonation, signature or any other conduct.
When a person claims to be a different person, whether that person is alive or dead or is fictitious, and uses that person?s name with the intent of being believed to be that person, this person has committed criminal offence of impersonation.
Fictitious trading occurs when a person places order of items or goods and after obtaining the goods, defaults in payment as promised but actually knows that at the time of making the order, he intended to default in payment. This presupposes that one?s intention to default in payment must be proved if fictitious trading can be held. How then do you prove intention in this case? Normally, the conduct of the accused person determines this. After taking delivery of the goods from an unsuspecting trader or business person that person (fraudster) goes into hiding, refuses to answer calls or swerves the other party. We may deduce that he actually intended to default or defraud by false pretence.
Let?s find out why people usually rush into parting monies to fraudsters instead of having a second thought of the presentation.
One reason may be over-confidence in the business proposal or package presented to potential victims due to the highly persuasive communication techniques used to exploit the receiver?s emotions into taking spontaneous decisions. To them, there will be no reason to suspect any foul play, due to the well-crafted image portrayed.
Secondly, I will personally attribute some of the spontaneous decisions taken by the defrauded people to greed. This is because people hardly disclose such business offers to others but keep them to themselves because they want to be the sole beneficiaries of the proceeds, but eventually lose everything.
Sometimes fraudsters employ schemes that make the offer look like a legitimate one and from a reputable institution, due to the number of documents and forms one is made to fill.
Areas where fraudsters lately take undue advantage have to do with oil sealant, money doubling, property and land transaction, false remittances from abroad, gold business, among others.
Oil Sealants Fraud
Last month for example, the police arrested a four-member fraud syndicate, including a German, who had succeeded in defrauding so many people through the sale of fake oil sealants. Over hundreds of people fell victim to this type of fraud and the case is being tried at the law courts.
What these fraudsters normally do is that they get complimentary cards or any form of contact of business-minded persons and contact them under the guise of introducing themselves as suppliers of oil sealants to a purported procurement manager (normally a Whiteman) of an oil firm where he (the caller) works. The caller will indicate that the Whiteman who is the supposed procurement manager, will contact the potential target to request for these sealants.
Initially, they will induce you to procure a sample from another member of the syndicate who is alleged to be possessing the items; and when it is supplied to the Whiteman, he will pay you even double the cost of what you purchased. At this point, with the victim believing that he is likely to get double the amount of any money he invests, quickly mobilizes funds from all corners and goes to the source to procure more of the supposed sealants.
Having detected that they have a victim, the syndicate will also request for larger quantities. It is after the purchase has been made awaiting supply to the procurement manager (Whiteman) that phones which were formerly active, will be permanently out of coverage area. All attempts to reach any member of the syndicate yields no results. Fraud!
Same can be used in gold fraud or any other product determined by the syndicate.
To be continued
By ASP Effie Tenge
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