a picture showing moyo okediji poised for the camera



My friend called me that they scammed her of $750 last Monday.

After listening to the story of how they scammed her, I realized it was the same syndicate that scammed me in 2019 that scammed her last Monday.

As a Nigerian, I consider it a disgrace to be scammed—after all, I belong to a country that is notorious for always winning the Olympic gold medal in the 419 game.

But these guys are special. They found a way to scam me.

They called me: “Hello Moyosore, this call is from AT&T, your internet provider. We are calling to check on you about a repair we just carried out in your house.”

True, the AT&T just carried out a massive repair in my house after a network failure. I was therefore reassured. If they know about that repair, they must be authentic.

“How did our technician perform?” the voice asked. It was also a perfect voice. The voice had a South East Asian accent associated with India and those other high-tech nations that American cable companies use as cheap contractors.

Had the voice been a Naija or Ghana accent, which I could easily tell, I would have cut the phone immediately.

Techies from India and those Asian countries are straightforward and reliable, I thought.

They are simple geeks: harmless, trustworthy workhorses who know nothing but math. Your girlfriend is safe with them because they wouldn’t know what to do with her.

They are just as reliable as your laptop, and that’s why the US cable networks use them for outsourcing, I concluded in my mind.

(Now I know: even ‘good’ stereotyping is bad).

I heaved a sigh of relief—just as my friend did last Monday.

“The guy who fixed my cable did a great job,” I told the caller.

“I’m glad to know that,” the geek with an Indian accent said. “Just one more thing, if you’re interested,” he said as I was about to cut the call.

“Yes?” I asked.

“We are doing a promotion with Best Buy right now,” the geek said. “If you buy a Best Buy card of $250 dollars, we can cut your monthly payment by half.”

“What?” I asked.

“It’s simple,” he said. “You get the Best Buy gift card, call us and provide us with the number on the gift card. Once you call me and give me the number, I will transfer your call to our accounts department where they will work out the deal.”

“That sounds great,” I said immediately.

“But the promotion is closing tonight at 6pm,” the Indian-accented geek said. “You have to do it immediately and call me with the number.”

I checked the time. It was barely 2 pm. “Sure,” I said. “I can do it.” I reckoned it would take me just about 15 minutes to get to the nearest Best Buy store.

I jumped into my Jeep and raced down. I bought the card and called the AT&T Indian-accent geek. I called in the number on the Best Buy gift card and he repeated while writing it down. Then he connected me to their account department. Everything sounded perfect, with the signature AT&T jingle.

The guy at the account department who was also with the same Indian Geek accent took my phone number and assured me that the new rate would reflect on my bill at the end of the month.

I was happy with myself.

I returned to work.

About one hour later, the phone rang again. It was the same guy. “Moyosore,” he said, “thanks for taking advantage of our sales promotion.”

“Sure,” I said.

“Because you are such a good customer,” he said, “I can get you an even better rate on a similar program as the one you just joined. With this new program, you will be paying only 30 dollars monthly. You just have to buy another $250 Best Buy gift card. It’s just like the first one. But this promotion closes at 10 pm tonight.

I thought about it. You can’t beat this deal.

I jumped in my Jeep and in one hour, I was now part of the $30 monthly promotional program. That’s a killer deal that reduced my bill by about $100 dollars a month.

It was the following morning when the guy called again that I realized that I had been scammed.

He wanted me to give him the numbers of my friends and families who could benefit from my new program, for a $500 coupon.

Háà, wọ́n ti gbá mi! I just knew immediately.

“You have scammed me, you this Mother F—ker!” I said softly. “This is an insult to me as a Nigerian….”

As they say in America, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably too good to be true.”

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