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My Money Mistake: I Filled A Compromised Form Online That’s Ruining My Life

My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.

For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a 33-year-old engineer who filled out a compromised form online and is still dealing with the consequences. He tells us about how he innocently filled the form and how it’s ruining his life.

Could you tell me your money mistake?

Earlier this year, I visited a website and saw a link that was supposedly for those who wanted to apply for a federal government loan. I was interested and clicked the link. The link led me to some online forms that requested all my personal information, including BVN, NIN, next-of-kin and list of three contacts. 

A few days after, I received multiple debit alerts that emptied my bank account. I also discovered, later on, that the documents I submitted were being used to apply for loans from loan sharks.

Oh wow. I’m so sorry! How did you discover that?

After some months, while still dealing with the consequences of that debit alert, I had my friends calling me to ask how come I collected loans of ₦5,000 from different loan sharks with ridiculous interest rates. 

They had received texts and calls from loan sharks, threatening them to warn me to pay off the debt. I had to tell them what had happened.

How about the debit alerts?

They came in around 11pm, so I didn’t notice them in time. The first debit was ₦38,000, and then, there were three other alerts before my account got emptied. Altogether it was about ₦142,000.

I also noticed that, sometimes, I would receive strange credit alerts and in seconds, the money would be moved out. So I went to the bank and asked for my statement. That was what confirmed to me that they were using my details to request loans, and, immediately it dropped, they would forward the money to an account we couldn’t trace. 

The whole experience has confused and disturbed me; I never expected this sort of thing.

Has the whole thing ended?

It hasn’t. I still receive multiple calls from loan sharks insisting I pay back the loan or they will post my details on the internet. None of them seem to understand that I’m not the one requesting these loans. I have been embarrassed and threatened. If I knew a way to solve this problem, I would have solved it.

What have you done to try to salvage this situation?

I have gone to my bank several times. They’ve done all they can, but no luck. I have also blocked the phone number; Nothing! These people have my BVN and my NIN. So anything connected to this information is also compromised. I can’t create a new bank account because it will still be connected to the BVN.

Has this affected your work?

It has affected everything. My bank account is still on auto-debit, so any credit alert I receive will be debited almost immediately. There are times when people refuse to commission me or pay me for projects because I can’t send them an account number with my name. So, I end up losing a lot of contracts.

And you, how have you been coping?

I am totally down and depressed and confused. I don’t know what to do or where to start. If I was rich, I would find a way to contact the guys behind this and pay them off, but I can’t. It has ruined my life.

I’m so sorry about this. What’s your biggest lesson learned from this experience?

In this life, anything that has to do with online registration, I’m not interested in it. No matter how real or true it is, I don’t think I can do it because it has ruined my life. Except it’s a physical form, I stay away.

Check back every Friday by 10 AM for a new My Money Mistake episode. Read the past episodes here. If you would like to share your story for the series, fill this form.

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