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 23-year-old student who lost his school fees to a fraudulent online pay-per-task scheme. He tells us about the effect it had on him and the lessons he learnt from the experience.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
Earlier this month, I came across a pay-per-task platform on a job search website. The major point of the platform was that by completing certain tasks, we would earn commissions and be able to withdraw them to our bank accounts. It looked legit, so I decided to give it a try.
I signed up and invested ₦3,000 naira as a test. By the end of the day, after completing the tasks I was assigned, I was able to withdraw ₦6,000 into my bank account. I was so happy about cashing out on this that I told my friends about it and encouraged them to sign up.
The next day, I increased the initial deposit to ₦7,000, and after completing the tasks, I was able to withdraw ₦14,000. It made me even more excited and confident about putting in more money.
The day after, I put in ₦6,000 to cash out ₦12000 as usual, but the tasks were impossible to complete.
How do you mean?
Normally, I would get 5 tasks, with each task having 3 subtasks. But this time, they increased the subtasks to 8 and also prevented me from accessing most of the tasks without paying extra.
The first time, they asked me to add ₦10,000 to be able to finish the tasks. I did, but I still couldn’t finish them because they kept interrupting the tasks and demanding more money to unlock the rest of them.
Also, the amount they asked for continued to increase: First, it was ₦10,000, then ₦20,000, then ₦25,000, then ₦30,000. Before I knew it, I had spent over ₦170,000, but I hadn’t completed the tasks and they were asking for more money.
How much did they ask for?
₦120,000. They said once I paid that, I would complete some tasks, then pay ₦240,000, after which I’ll be able to withdraw ₦700,000. But it didn’t make sense to me, so I stopped.
What kept you going until this point?
After I had paid ₦47,000 to the platform, I felt like I should stop. But it also felt like quitting halfway wasn’t right, and it just made sense to finish the tasks and finally get my money. I even promised myself I wouldn’t do it again once I was done.
However, the more money I put in, the more I was convinced that if I added just a little more money and completed the tasks, I could finally withdraw all my money and it’d all be worth it.
That’s how the tasks kept increasing, and I kept adding more money. The more money I added, the higher the tasks became, and the more I needed to put in to withdraw my money. The major temptation to do more was the promised profit.
When I realised I’d spent my school fees and even borrowed money from people for the platform, and I still wasn’t close to receiving my commission, it hit me that I probably wouldn’t get my money back.
It was at that point I decided to count my losses and quit.
What tasks did they ask you to do?
While I was invested in it, they gave me lots of different tasks to do, kind of like affiliate marketing. Buying things and selling them later, watching stuff online, answering surveys, and signing up on other websites using people’s special codes. It was a mix of a lot of tasks.
How are you coping after everything that happened?
It was a traumatic experience, and now, I’m just trying to move on with my life. I’ve resolved never to get involved in these online schemes again.
How about the debts?
I’ve cleared everything now, including my school fees. I had to tell my parents about it. They scolded me about it, but they eventually helped me to clear it off.
What lesson did you learn from this experience?
I learnt a ton of lessons, but I think the most important one is that you should never borrow or use money meant for something else to ‘invest’ in any kind of platform. If I had stopped right when I ran out of money, I would’ve been able to handle my losses better.