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 writer who fell for a Twitter bot pretending to be his bank. He tells us about how he was scammed, why he might’ve fallen for it, and how it made him more cautious.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
I use one of the banks that’s popularly known for randomly debiting their customers without any cause. One day I had enough, so I tweeted about it and tagged the bank.
The tweet got quoted by an account that looked very similar to the bank’s official handle. It them gave me a WhatsApp number to forward my complaint to. It turned out to be a scam bot.
I feel really embarrassed for falling for it, but the bank had also been promoting its WhatsApp banking assistant for a while. That’s why I assumed it was legit.
What happened afterwards?
They asked for my account number and promised to stop the unauthorised debits. They then sent a link, and said I would receive an OTP. I followed the link, filled out the form and received an OTP.
I was occupied with something else at the time, so I missed the first OTP. I received another OTP, they sent a follow-up message and then I sent it to them.
At the point of them requesting your OTP, weren’t you suspicious?
No, I wasn’t. I think they just caught me off guard. I’m tech savvy, and I still can’t explain how it happened.
Go on, please.
I received an alert after sending the OTP, and I was happy because I thought it was a credit alert. After I was done with the other things I was doing in the house, I returned to my phone, opened the alert message and saw that it was a debit.
I was lucky because I had moved most of my money to my savings earlier that day, so they were only able to debit about ₦37,000, leaving me with ₦6.15.
The funny thing is I still didn’t think I had been scammed after seeing the debit. I thought it was just another error from my bank and planned to follow-up with my contact person to resolve it.
That was when I discovered that my messages were no longer being delivered. I had been blocked on Twitter and on Whatsapp. That really hurt.
I’m sorry about that. Did you try to find a solution?
Yes. I visited the bank, but they placed the blame on me for the mistake. I was also too embarrassed to tell anyone about it, so I just blocked the affected account and opened a new one instead.
What did you take away from that experience?
I’m a lot more cautious and attentive. If there is a problem with my bank account, I go directly to the bank.