The first thing to know about investments is that they are inherently risky in nature. While some investments are riskier than others, some of them are just elaborate Ponzi schemes or outright scams.
Many Nigerians know, from first or second-hand experience, the disappointment of losing their hard-earned money to bad or fraudulent investments.
We got a few of them to share their stories with us:
“I went from thousands of dollars to like 40 dollars in two weeks” – Shola
For me, it’s crypto that almost gave me a heart attack. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t necessarily think crypto is a scam or anything; I just had an unforgettable experience with it.
So back in 2021, right before the rest of the country caught the crypto virus, I started buying coins. I made sure to put at least ₦40k worth of USDT every month to buy the coins of my choice. I practically became a crypto girlie. I would spend my days studying patterns, joining groups and buying the dip.
Things were going fine at first. I was trading and hodling and gaining more than I was losing money. I think I was just lucky because I would always leave at the right time.
Then all of social media caught the bug. Everyone was buying coins. Crypto was the rave. It became a trend. But all trends end. To make things worse, a certain billionaire started tweeting and causing pandemonium.
I wish I took it as a sign to take profit and be going. But I was a believer, I told myself I would hodl. How bad could it be? Well, it was bad. Everybody was getting out and I went from thousands of dollars to like 40 dollars in two weeks. I just kept watching my money disappear. I wanted to cry, but I knew the risks. If I had taken my money that time, shey I would’ve known what I’m doing with my life?
“The day they were to pay me, MMM crashed” – Frances
MMM. I don’t know if I can call it investment sha. I am always weary of all these kinds of things that want to look like viable investments but are just shams.
Anyway, I ignored all of the people around me who were trying to persuade me to join in until one of my guys bought a car, and the other furnished his apartment. Bear in mind, we were all NYSC people o.
Omo. Sapa was dealing with me, so I decided to try. I started with ₦100k (as per go big or go home) and I was to collect ₦130k in 2 weeks. So they paired me with 2 people. A ₦100k ‘helper’ and a ₦30k ‘helper’.
The day they were to pay me, MMM crashed.
My saving grace was that the ₦100k helper did not hear of the crash on time and paid me. Then the 30k helper just locked up. I just thank God that my money came back.
See, to date, I don’t want to hear any story. Now I always ask questions like whether the company is registered, or how long have they been in business.
“If it’s too good to be true, then it’s definitely a red flag” – Dave
The latest one was in early 2021; it was an affiliate marketing website called Lancie. They claimed to be an advertising platform where people came to pay purchase views and likes for online content. Then on the other hand, you could register to work on the platform, and your job would be to share these links daily and make money from it.
But like every investment, you needed to put money in to make money. Registration was about $30 paid through crypto. But the daily earnings would be accumulated and paid at the end of the month. This usually came up to like $150.
I felt confident because the friend that introduced me had been telling me about it since November 2019. He kept reminding me until January 2021, when I finally succumbed. I started by opening one account and by the end of the month, I got paid. I think around that time, many cryptocurrencies were doing really well so everything felt secure and legit to me.
After I got my first payout, I decided to go again. This was where greed started to creep in. I thought, “Instead of one account, I could manage three accounts at a go.” So I opened two other accounts. But I didn’t even wait for the month to end before I decided again to open more accounts. Instead of doing it every month, I could just pump money into it for a month and then get out. Nothing this good could last forever.
So I opened so many accounts and registered them with over a million naira in total. But only two weeks in, the stories started coming in. Today they were having problems with withdrawing crypto, and tomorrow they were doing some upgrades.
I’d done too many investments to not know how this story goes. But I still had a little hope and kept waiting. They kept giving us false hope on the website, releasing press statements saying they would make payments in batches.
Long story short, one day I came online and couldn’t find the website again. The domain was gone. There was no way to trace it back to anybody because all transactions were done using crypto.
Just at the beginning of 2021, I lost over a million naira. That set the tone for the rest of the year. I was low on funds and morale. That experience taught me a huge lesson — I no longer invest anyhow. Before I put my money into any investment, I must do due diligence. If it’s too good to be true, then it’s definitely a red flag.