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 27-year-old beauty entrepreneur who got scammed. She talks about the signs she ignored and how using PiggyVest saved her.
Could you tell me your money mistake?
Sometime in June, there was a Nigerian bank that had issues with processing transactions. Customers were online complaining about transfers not going through.
Earlier, I had tried to recharge my phone using that bank’s app. The transaction didn’t go through, but after some time, I was debited. I later found out that the bank was having issues, but that was three days later. Still, there was no reversal.
Did you try to reach out to their customer care?
Yes. I sent emails, no response. I sent messages on Facebook and Instagram, nothing. I believe it was unfair that the bank didn’t send messages informing their users about maintenance and the possibility of transactions stalling.
So, to solve the problem, I went on Twitter. That was when I noticed an account responding to people calling out the bank.
Were you able to get the bank’s attention?
Yes, but what I didn’t know was that a fake page took advantage of the situation. This page was reaching out to customers complaining on Twitter. This was the page that responded to my tweet.
Was the handle verified?
I’m not so sure. I thought it was just one of the accounts my bank had created to handle customer complaints. We spoke in the DMs and they gave me a WhatsApp customer care line to contact for my issues. We took the chat off Twitter.
Did you suspect that something was off?
No. They sounded so professional. It was almost commendable.
What was the conversation like?
They asked me to confirm a bunch of details like my phone number and date of birth. They then asked for the OTP that was generated. Now that I am telling this story, I see how silly the situation was. They promised to reverse the funds in minutes and this was where I hung my hopes.
At what point did you discover it was a scam?
After I sent them the OTP, I asked myself, if my bank is sending me OTP, why are they asking for it back? It wasn’t adding up. To worsen the situation, I saw that the scammer was deleting messages. I asked myself, since when did banks start deleting messages? That was when I realised that I had been scammed. They cleared out the money in my account.
How much was the disputed amount and how much did they clear from your bank?
The funds I was trying to retrieve was ₦2,000 while ₦15,000 was stolen from my account. I know the amount is small, but it’s still money and nobody likes to lose money. What saved me was my PiggyVest! I keep all my money there and then pay myself weekly. I am glad the scammers didn’t have access to all my savings.
How did you handle the situation?
I cried. How could I have let this happen? What was I thinking? I kept beating myself up about the situation. Then I sent another email to my bank. The subject of the email was “Illegal Withdrawal” and they replied in less than 10 minutes. The incident happened on a weekend so I was unable to visit the nearest branch. By Monday, the money in the account had been cleared.
Did you still visit the bank after that?
Yes, I did, but they weren’t very helpful. I was made to fill a form but was told there was nothing they could do about it. They said they will still carry out an investigation but till date, I haven’t heard from them again. I just wish I knew who had the account or where the money went.
What’s your biggest lesson from all of this?
I’ve learnt to calm down when fixing financial issues. I wanted to get it sorted as quickly as possible, so it doesn’t get overlooked and that made me make hasty decisions. I now believe it is important to verify everything when money is involved.