I received a telephone call on my personal line yesterday. It was from a number not in my Contacts. The caller greeted warmly with an air of familiarity, asked after me by my full name, and then introduced himself as Engineer So-and-so. It was an unknown name too, and my alarms went off. I told him I couldn’t place the name. He was putting too much effort into sounding like someone who was familiar with me. His story was that we met at Ibadan some weeks back and wondered how I could have forgotten him so quickly. Bad move one. Duh. Try another one, sir.
He then asked if I wasn’t the person who resided at number So-and-so at Bla-bla-bla. He gave my precise residential address, and insisted that I gave him those details to him when we met at Ibadan.
Bad move two. I was at Ibadan about two weeks ago but didn’t meet anyone else apart from my clients that I went to see. But WOW; this man had my residential address!
I have good friends that I have eaten with and done business with for years – and yet have never given a single one of them my residential address in all these years. So, in a supposed moment of idiocy or ecstasy, I met a stranger at Ibadan and promptly handed him my residential address? Who does that? Bad move. From that point, I knew for certain that he was lying through his teeth.
Anyway, he went on to describe how he has an oil project and needed someone in Lagos to take care of it for him. He wondered if I would be interested. I bluntly declined, after which the telephone conversation died a quick death. He said goodbye and hung up.
But here is the real issue: this guy had my full name, private telephone number, and residential address. Those details are possessed only by government agencies and some corporate organisations like Federal Road Safety Corps, Telecommunications operators, Banks, Vehicle licensing authority, and the like.
Scammers and other criminal elements clearly are finding ways to access private information from these organisations. We are increasingly becoming at greater risk as private citizens. Imagine the possibilities. Scary possibilities. It is a whole new world that we live in, people. Be watchful.