According to a Dailytrust report there is a new set of ‘fake pastors’ in town.
These fake Pastors are often seen hanging around commercial banks in corporate attires. Their dressing is not in any way suspicious as it makes them look like pastors or even the bankers.
Their prime targets are mostly impressionable teenagers who visit the banks either to pay in or withdraw money.
Silver James is a member of this gang of criminals who specialises in swindling residents of Kubwa, one of the fast-growing satellite towns in the FCT, using spiritual means. He said he was introduced to the business by one of his friends who claimed to be a paint dealer in Abuja.
James, a 39-year-old painter in the eastern part of the country, said he was deceived into joining the gang after giving his friend the sum of N50,000 to help him procure a pickup van for his work which he waited for three months without delivery.
“One day, I called him to return my money since the goods were no longer available, but he promised to introduce me to another business which would pay better than the painting work I was doing. That was how I found myself in Abuja two weeks later,” he said.
According to James, it took him few weeks to learn the tricks of the fraud before he finally joined the syndicate.
“We always stand by the gate of banks to lay ambush on our victims. As soon as we sight a customer, most of whom are teenagers, going towards the ATM point to withdraw money, one of us would approach him and start prophesying to him that he has a bright future but that the devil wants to truncate it,” he said.
The suspect said they would promise the victims to take them to a certain place where prayers would be conducted on him for his cleansing, but only on the condition that he/she would be ready to offer some amount of money, and his phones collected from him.
“Once the boy withdraws money from the machine and hands it over to any of us, we carry him in our car which is already waiting within the bank premises to a lonely place where we drop him and disappear,” he narrated.
The suspect, who confessed that it was only the sixth time he had committed the fraud, said he was caught in the act on the day he was arrested.
“I was still talking with the boy when my colleague sighted the police officer and he left me and drove off with the car. That was how I got caught,” he decried.
He further confessed that they do not use any charm to operate, describing their tricks as mere psychology.
“Since I joined them, I have not seen them making any incantation before embarking on any operation. Besides, it is not every person we approach that succumbs to our tricks. Some would say they are not interested, and we don’t force them,” he added.
One of the victims who simply identified himself as Tochy, while narrating his ordeal, said he lost the sum of N25,000 to the swindlers.
“It was like a film. Their appearance was so deceptive that before they even opened their mouth to start talking to you, you are already attracted to their discussion,” he lamented.
Reacting, the Kubwa Divisional Police Officer, Chief Superintendent Nurrudeen Sabo confirmed the arrest of the fraudster, saying that 10 mobile phones and a fake camouflage cap belonging to the Immigration Service were recovered from him.
He advised residents to be wary of the presence of these fraudsters within bank premises so as not to fall for their gimmicks.
Sabo also urged parents and guardians to avoid sending their vulnerable under-aged wards, who the criminals always take advantage of to the banks, especially to lodge in or withdraw money.