I have never been a fan of mobile banking apps because of hitches like connection error, service time out and their annoying charges. I decided to try it out only because where I was undertaking my NYSC was very far from the closest bank or even ATM.
What I didn’t know was that my bank’s app was about to save me from a major heartache.
So fast forward to a few months after I began using the online banking app. I was on my way back from Port Harcourt in River’s State, Nigeria.
I entered a car in Choba going to Buguma. The journey was smooth after passing the police check point after Choba park. When we got to Ogbakiri junction to divert to Kalabari kingdom. We met some men thinking it was just the usual police check point. Not knowing that they are kidnappers. Everything looked like a dream. Not until they asked us to get down from the car and began beating us. Two of them had guns. Within 10 minutes, they had pushed the five of us inside their jeep.
We were taken to one uncompleted building where all we had on us were collected and searched. Bags, wallets, ATM cards, hand bags, name it.
Our ATM cards and the pins were collected from us with the warning that the family of those without ATM cards would be contacted and ransom demanded from them.
To make matters worst, the account of the ATM card I gave them had about N265,540 (N210,000 was given to me by my sister only a few days back of which I intended using the funds to start up a small business to compliment my NYSC allowee). I couldn’t afford loosing all that money at a go. I was just praying in my mind for God to perform a miracle and my ATM card will be deactivated or for it not to pay.
As we all awaited our fate as one of the kidnappers went with our ATM cards to withdraw our monies, my phone rang. The kidnapper guarding us, cut it. It rang again. He cut it. He asked who owned the phone. I said I was the one. He said if not because of he loved the ringtone, he would have smashed the phone.
“So you dey watch Empire?” he asked me.
I said “Yes.”
My ringtone was “Ready To Go” by Jamaal from Empire.
Infact I had almost all the songs used in the series. I tried to see if I could use this as a platform to chat with him. I told him that I have all the Empire songs used in the movie series. He asked how I got them. I told him I downloaded them online. He asked for the password of my phone and while he gave it to me, he received a call and went outside to answer it.
I was so scared as my hands were literally shaking while holding the phone. As I punched in the password, the online banking app was staring me in the face. I looked across the room and the kidnapper wasn’t in sight. Something in me said, “Why don’t you transfer the money in your First Bank Account (the account with the ATM card that had N265,540 in it) to my GTB Account (had only N25,000 in this account and left the ATM card at home)”.
At first I was scared, I didn’t know if the one that had gone to withdraw had already completed the transaction. I had to summon courage. I put on my data immediately and logged in. Low and behold, the N265,540 was still in my account. I transferred the money to my GT bank account. Infact the network in the area was so fast that I did everything within a minute. The kidnapper that gave me my phone got back and took the phone from me. As luck would have it, I had already logged out and uninstalled the app (you never can tell how computer literate these men are).
Barely 15 minutes later, they received a call from the guy that went to withdraw that my account had only N540. They were angry and threatened to keep me hostage. I began pleading that I was only a corper.
After 3 hours, I was released but my phone and other valuables were taken away. They said they released me because I had nothing to offer. I was able to leave the environment only to discover I was in Bayelsa State. I managed to stop someone, explained my predicament tp him and was directed to a Corper’s lounge not too far away. I stayed with them and left for my base the next day. Thank God.
True Story by Onismate
Edited by Kurtis Smith
Moral of the Story:
1. Endeavor to familiarize yourself with your bank’s online app. It might come in handy one day to pay bills, transfer money when an ATM or bank is not readily accessible.
2. Never go around with an ATM that has majority of your money. Never. The account with the bulk of your money should not have an ATM if you ask me. Works for me. Saves you from outlandish and unplanned spending, ATM theft and kidnap situations.
The ATM on you should have maybe 10% of all your funds. Anytime you need money for something, you use online banking to transfer money to the account with the ATM. Simple.
3. Always delete those text messages from your bank with your account balance. Some robbers might have the presence of mind to go through your text messages to know how much you have in your account. Don’t afford them that privilege.
May God guide us all.