The Director General of the Public Affairs Department of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Reverend David Nenyi Ampah-Bennin, has advised the general public to appreciate what they had and not be greedy as there were tricksters around taking advantage of people who want to cut corners to make quick money.
The DCOP spoke to The Mirror in relation to smart or ‘magic’ thieves who rely on their brains and brawn to steal from their victims because all they (thieves) need is attention for victims to willingly hand over their valued assets.
In some cases, unsuspecting victims had gone to the extent of borrowing items or money they did not have, to give to the thieves who are said to be operating by means of hypnosis.
Hypnosis is an induced sleep-like state in which a person is deeply relaxed but the mind responds easily to external suggestions. Hypnotised subjects are said to show an increased response to suggestions.
Narrating her ordeal, a young lady who gave her name as Nana Ama, said she was approached in Accra Central by two young men who asked for directions to a popular bank around the Makola shopping mall.
Unaware of their agenda, she directed them to the bank but just as she was turning around to go away, one of the gentlemen informed her he had pure gold in his possession and asked if she was interested.
“I don’t sell gold or deal in gold but for some strange reasons, I told him I wanted to have a look at it so we moved to a less busy area around the shopping mall. Then he asked if I had GH¢1,000 on me,” she narrated.
Nana Ama said without any hesitation, she quickly pulled out her purse and handed over GH¢ 300 to the gentleman as that was the only amount she had on her at the time.
The gentleman then handed her a white handkerchief and instructed her to hide it since it could be easily snatched by thieves.
It was after the men had left that she regained consciousness and realised she had been duped as the handkerchief contained an old washed-out necklace.
A mobile phone recharge card seller at Adabraka also told The Mirror that she was in her shop when a young lady she knew came to buy recharge cards.
She said the lady who was speaking to someone on the phone requested for GH¢ 60 worth of the cards which she gave her.
She said the lady then scratched the cards and called out the digits to the person on the other side of the line.
She said she got worried when the lady asked for more cards and kept talking to the person on phone.
“This lady kept sending the phone credit to the guy he was talking to but because I know her, I didn’t say anything. It was when the amount reached GH¢400 that I told her to pay before asking for more.
“I overheard the man she was talking to tell her he would send the money through mobile money. That was when I realised she had been duped. So I held her and demanded my money. Just when the guy hang up, it looked like she had just woken up from sleep, she had no money on her.
“She then told me she received a message telling her she had won some money and that she needed to send some credit so her prize money could be sent to her,” she continued.
The card seller said she followed the lady home and collected the GH¢400 from her parents.
DCOP Ampah-Bennin said the police had received several reports from victims on loss of property and money to strangers.
“The commonest of their tricks is to tell you they have gold or diamond and then lure you into giving them money or an item to the value of the gold,” he said.
He cautioned the general public, especially females, to be careful of how they interact with strangers, saying “if you meet a stranger and he or she asks for directions, do not follow the person.
“Just point to the general direction and move away. If you are not lucky, you could also be harmed or sexually abused in addition to being duped,” he stressed.