“If you’re paying in N100,000 and above, please step aside”, came the instructions from the polite, articulate young man in the well-cut suit and shoes so well polished, you could pick your teeth looking at them. At least 7 people stepped aside and were gently ushered aside to facilitate their payments. One by one, the young man collected each customers cash and tellers, smiled reassuringly and went away to stamp the tellers “at the back. The queues were ridiculously long and with no sign of dissipating, this was a welcome initiative by the bank. Except that the bank had nothing to do with it.
The smooth-tongued young man was a calm, calculated fraud and the “stamped tellers” never returned. by the time an alert was raised, it was too late. After speaking to witnesses, checking CCTV footage, speaking to the bank security, it turned out that this was a popular scam which had yet again repeated itself.
It is unfortunate that our society is one where otherwise creative and employable young people have to resort to all sorts of stealing mechanisms to make a living. It is important to learn to protect ourselves from these unscrupulous characters by learning to question everything. Here are a few tips to help you stay on your guard in the banking hall.
– Observe everyone around you. At my first job in my teens as a supermarket cashier in Europe, one of the first things I was taught was to very quickly assess the environment upon entering. If there is anyone more interested in the people around them than in task at hand,that should set off alarm bells immediately.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for identification. If anyone asks you to hand over your hard earned cash, under the guise of an institution, politely ask them to identify themselves. Don’t shy away – you would be doing those around you a favour and they will have no option but to support you. Any member of staff who feels enraged or embittered about this question probably has something to hide, as genuine staff would understand that your are helping them make their business premises a safer place. The best keyword to use in this situation is “One Nigeria.
– If you don’t feel comfortable in any situation, you are within your rights to walk away. No one will beat you. Do not go against how your spirit feels, as your instincts are probably right.
All the best, and stay safe!