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 lost money to an Instagram vendor. He tells us about discovering the store, getting burned, and his new approach to online orders.
Could you tell me your money mistake?
I got scammed while trying to buy an Apple watch from an online vendor.
How did that happen?
It was during the lockdown, when everyone bought everything online. I was trying to get the Apple watch for a cheaper price. Someone recommended checking Instagram stores. And after searching for a while, I found an Instagram store.
Everything felt right. They had a significant number of followers, I video-called them, they showed me the store and the device, and they were open to an instalmental payment structure. So I paid half of the price, and we agreed that I would pay the balance once it’s delivered.
How much are we talking about?
I paid about ₦110,000 for the first instalment.
So when did you sense that this was a scam?
After waiting hours for a delivery that never happened. I had called the dispatch rider several times that day; he kept promising that he was on his way. It felt very normal until later that evening. I went on Instagram to complain to the store about it, and discovered I had been blocked.
It gets worse. I tried to track the location of the dispatch rider with an app and found that the owner was in Kano. This store was supposedly based in Lagos!
How did it feel losing that money?
I was sad for a while, but money comes and goes. I moved on.
Do you still buy things online?
I still do. I’ve had too many good experiences shopping online to have it tainted by this one vendor. I’m just generally more cautious and more likely to buy from stores that are directly recommended from people I know or stores that have “Pay on delivery” options.
Did you learn any lesson from the unfortunate experience?
Yes. I mean, listen to your mother. [Laughs] She warned me from going on with the deal. But seriously, I got into the mess because I was trying to look for a cheaper deal that didn’t exist. That’s the lesson: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.