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 20-year-old student who gave her banking details to a scam caller. She tells us about how she was scammed, what she learnt from it, and how she works to prevent a repeat of that experience.
Could you tell me your money mistake?
During the lockdown, I received a call from someone claiming to be my bank, and I gave them my bank details.
I think I should say that I’m not a dumb person. Before it happened, I’d had a problem with my account that required me to be in occasional calls with my bank account manager to resolve; I couldn’t make transfers.
Then, one day around 6:30 am, I got a call from someone asking me for certain private banking details, and I gave him everything he asked for.
At what point did you know something was wrong?
It didn’t immediately occur to me that something was wrong, and I think it’s because it was the call that woke me up from sleep and I’d been in prior conversations with my bank. So after the call, I went to meet my dad, who also works at the bank, to complain about receiving a call from them so early. As soon as my dad started shouting, I knew what had happened.
There weren’t any red flags?
Honestly, it should have been obvious to me from the beginning that something was wrong. The person didn’t even know my name and rambled in circles, which was confusing, but he sounded like my account manager and had mentioned a problem that was similar to the one I had discussed with him. Then, he asked for my details.
What details did he ask for?
I should probably reiterate here that it was very early in the morning, so I wasn’t really thinking clearly. He asked for my account number, the details at the back of my card, and, I think, the expiration number of the card.
No judgement here. How much did you lose?
This is the saving grace in this entirely awful experience. I had only about ₦1,500 in my account, and all of it got debited.
How did you feel seeing the debit alert?
I actually felt so horrible. It’s so crazy because my dad was going to send me about ₦30k later that day. So if the caller waited a few more hours, I would have lost even more. So I was happy it wasn’t a lot. And because my parents are bankers, it was even more embarrassing that I fell for such a scam.
How did they take it?
Thankfully, they were very understanding. Anyways, you live and you learn.
What did you learn from that ordeal?
I’m extra careful now. These days, I rarely take calls from my account manager because I don’t trust anybody.
How do you communicate with your account manager now?
That’s their business [Laughs]. If they want to reach me, they will reach me — maybe email or something. Seriously though, I’m a lot more conscious about how quickly I give out information and who I give it to.