The scam

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This is a story I never thought I would be telling. You see, I pride myself in being that hard and woke Kumasi chic but this one hit me before I could say Jack. How do I even begin because it still doesn't make any type of sense?  Anyway, on the 4th of April, 2017 (I can never forget), I set off to work late. Mind you that never happens as I'm always the first person to get to work in my office.

But unfortunately, I had overslept so I notified my boss that I would be running late. The day looked so bright and promising. I was totally looking forward to dinner with my newly married friend and her husband after work too. I mean what could possibly go wrong?

I don't know if I had a smile on my face, but I was thinking about all the yummy things I was going to eat that evening or something, then an older man approached me and asked for directions to a place around American house.

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Now you have to know this about me, I never talk to strangers (could be the reason why I'm still single lol), so I did the usual, told him I had no idea where and who he was talking about and started moving on.

The man quickly grabbed my arm, which alarmed me because then he was in my space and under normal circumstances, we would have had a problem. He then went on to tell me that he had come from a village in Tarkwa and had been sent to come and buy stuff for his father.

 According to him, it who usually sent but his father decided to send him that day and he really didn't want to disappoint. And all this time, homeboy was still holding on to me? In my head, my only thought was "how is that my business" but I couldn't move.

I told him as politely as I could that I really had to go so he should let go of me but no, he didn't. "Of all the people passing by, why do you think I approached you? You have a kind face. Please, I have been standing here for a long time, please help me so that I can return home on time," he said.

He then asked me to just ask another person about the direction as he didn't trust anyone else. I stopped the next person he pointed out who also happened to be an elderly man, probably in his 40s and told him everything. His response was “I know the place, but I'm in a hurry so I can't take you there.

I implored him to just show the guy so I could go my way because all this time, the man (Scammer)was still holding on to me. The man we asked suddenly had a change of heart and decided to take him there. I heaved a sigh of relief but little did I know it had all just began. The scammer actually begged me to go along with them as he didn't trust the man. Since I was going in the same direction, I agreed. Something I ordinarily won’t do.  

Half way there, the scammer told the man and I he was actually coming to sell gold to a dealer and needed to be sure he was at the right place. He entreated is to wait while he went in.

Funny enough we did and I’m convinced he had done something to us to have made us follow him around like that. It just doesn’t make sense. 

If the person really is someone his family has had business with, he should probably have a contact or sent someone to come and meet him. While we waited, the man who was helping us started hyping the said gold dealer. He is super rich eh, you have no idea. I really wasn't interested, I just wanted to get to work.

This whole time we were standing at a junction leading to my office. Now the Scammer one returned, thanked us and pulled me aside. He expressed his gratitude and told me that he had found the man and that his father asked him to also give some of gold to whoever helped him.

He brought it out and I declined, saying, I only helped him because it was the right thing to do and that I just wanted to go. And this wasn't the "asew ma )nk)” type of rejection. I really didn't want it. He went on to tell me he really wanted me to have it so I took it.

He gave the other man some as well and turned to go. That's when our helper approached me saying, "I haven't dealt in gold before. Please call him back and ask him where we can sell this because it's you he trusts".

I called him and he said back and asked him. He said the gold was raw and light so I couldn't get the real value, but if we dipped it in mercury, it would become heavy so we could make more money. He pretended to head back to the gold dealer's house when our helper asked where we could find mercury.

That's when things began to get interesting. Scammer One asked how much money we had on us and that he could perform a trick with it for us because there was mercury in the money. Then Mr. Helper said he had about Ghs 4000 which he pulled out from his pocket.

Scammer one rubbed the gold against it and asked me to feel it as it had become heavy. I really didn't feel anything but Mr helper said he felt it. Mr scammer asked if I had any more money I could add as the mercury in the 4000 cedis wasn't enough.

Before I knew it, I had volunteered my bank information and told him all the places I had money. It didn't make any sense in my mind, but I couldn't help it. I really believe if he had asked me to take him to my house at that some point, I would have done it without second guessing. 

To make matters worse, he made me look up the price of gold and convert it to Cedis. At this time, I was on cloud nine because, I was thinking of all that I could do with my new found fortune - It was so stupid! I could help my parents pay for my sister's education abroad and also pursue my Masters degree. 

He really had me. To make this long 3-hour ordeal short, he made me go to the bank to withdraw my money, cleared a check I had in my bag and withdrew all the money on my mobile wallet for him. All this time my boss kept calling because, I should have been at the office by then, but he told me not to answer and I sheepishly obliged.

In fact, the number of phone calls I had that morning was abnormal, but I obeyed him and didn't answer any of them. Before I knew it, we were standing in front of the East Legon Melcom. For whatever reason, he said he needed mothballs, but asked me to let him hold on to my bag for me.

Whatever he asked me to do, he would ask the helper(apparently scammer two)  to do same, so he had already gone to get the mothballs and showed me where he bought it from. It was on my way back that I started coming back to my senses.

Why would I give my bag to a stranger? I hurried back to where I left them and guess? They both were long gone! I frantically started asking people about those two but no one offered any help except one.

But he didn't see them with any bag. At that moment, my knees just gave out and I sank to the ground, I really didn't care because they had made away with almost Ghs 6,000. Everything was gone! And just like Jesus did, I wept!

After a while, I borrowed someone's phone to call my parents. I told them everything that happened. After asking me 99 plus one questions about whether I was safe, my dad sent me some money through a mobile money close by. I called my boss to let him know what had happened. He came to get me (God bless him) and went with me to report the matter to the Police.

Surprisingly, some police officers ridiculed me for being so gullible. One even called me greedy (eish my heart). My experience with the officers on this matter, is a tale for another day. After going on and on about how that wasn't the first time they had heard of such issues, they finally took my statement which only proved useful because I needed the police report to get a new passport. 

They never even went to the crime scene which had CCTV cameras to see if they could find any clues about the two men but nothing came out of it. Maybe I watch too much CSI, but I really expected them to do something. 

Ah well it’s Ghana...I just took the rest of the day off and went to buy my fried yam and pork from Glady's Market. I felt I deserved a treat after the day I had lol.

Morale of the story is, IT DOES HAPPEN. Not because you are stupid, but such is life. Things happen, but you have to move on. After a shower and a nap, I was good to go. Like my mother said, once you have life, you have hope. And the worst hasn't happened yet so, what did I really loose? This could have ended with a rape or even death but no, God saved me. 

P.s I met Scammer One recently at the passport office. We looked at each other long and hard, I smiled and walked away. He had the most confused look on his face. I had really forgiven him.