Losing your hard-earned money is always a bitter pill to swallow. I had a chat with some Nigerians who’d either been scammed outrightly or had relationships breakdown because of money.

“She said I was disturbing her because of ₦5k” — I.I., 27

A friend reached out to me in 2019 that she needed ₦5k, talking about how urgent it was. That was the only money I had at the time. I was just waiting for my salary to save me. But I decided to take her word for it and give it to her. She said she needed it in cash, so she sent someone to get it from me. I had to leave my house and trek to give the person she sent. 

After a few days, I didn’t hear from her; a week after, still nothing. Almost a month after, I called her and was like, “Babe, you promised you were going to send this money back the next day. I’m still waiting o.” This girl switched up on me and started shouting that I was disturbing her because of ₦5k. 

I was shocked. I just told her not to worry about it. It was a learning curve for me. Since that time, if it’s not money I can part with without suffering, I’m not lending.

“He had the audacity to tell us we’d been scammed” — Dipo, 18

When I was about 16, me and my guys were testing the waters of sports betting. Somehow, I linked up with this dude who said he sold fixed games. I can’t remember how much my classmates and I contributed to give him, but it must have been about ₦15k. We even begged him to pity us since we were secondary school students. We paid him, and he sent us the so-called fixed game scores. He promised a refund if the games didn’t end as he’d predicted. We placed our bets, and of course, we lost. This man had the audacity to tell us straight up that we’d been scammed. I’d never felt so stupid in my life.

“I may have been hypnotised” — Elizabeth, 24

After WAEC in 2015, my parents thought staying at home wouldn’t help me, so they enrolled me in a vocational training school to learn bead-making. On my way home one day, I met this brother who started speaking French to me. He showed me an address on a piece of paper, and it looked familiar. Then in broken English, he said that he came from Cameroon looking for his uncle, but people had been scamming him. Then some guy who claimed to be a police officer sprang out from nowhere and promised we would take him to the address. We got into a bus, and I paid for the three of us. The Cameroonian dude kept thanking me. He bragged about how rich his brother was and how he was sure he would repay me for my kindness. All I could think about was how much I was going to be compensated.

In the bus, aman who claimed to be a pastor said he’d seen a vision that we’d all made a covenant. He asked us to go home and bring whatever money we could find.  He asked the policeman if he was living with his brother, and the officer confirmed it. I thought, “There’s no way he could’ve known that if he wasn’t a seer of some sort.” I didn’t know it was a ploy to get me to believe the whole thing.

I don’t know if I was under the influence of something or just scared, but I went home and sneaked into my mum’s room to take her cooperative money.

I went back to these men to give them the money. It was on my way home that I realised what had just happened. I nearly cried my eyes out. Thankfully, my parents were just happy I was safe.

“I thought I was paying for delivery” — Deborah, 31

It happened on Facebook in 2016. I was following this Funke Akindele account because I’m a big fan. And because of the large number of followers, I assumed it was an authentic account. One day, I participated in their giveaway, and they announced me as the winner. The prize was a laptop, phone and more, but they said I’d have to pay ₦10k for delivery from Abuja to Lagos. I was overjoyed, so I didn’t care. They sent me the delivery person’s number, I sent the delivery fee, but he called me to send an extra ₦1k for credit. After I sent that, I never heard from him again. It was then I realised the account wasn’t Funke Akindele’s real account. I was disappointed in myself. I didn’t know who to report to, or how to even go about it, so I decided to forget it and count my losses.

“I lost all the money in my account”  — Ada 38

In 2019, I wanted to start a POS business, so I reached out to a person who claimed to be an Opay agent online. He said I’d have to credit my Opay account with at least ₦20k. I did that. He then said an OTP would be sent to me, and I had to send it to him so he can activate the POS for me. I did that, and he wiped all the money from my account. My baby sister’s school fees was in that account.

“I transferred ₦170k. This man said he didn’t see it” — Obinna, 30

I’m a travel agent who does visas for people. One day, one of my clients asked me to help pay visa fee for one of his customers. I’d normally make these payments with my dollar card, but it was down on that day, so I hopped on a Nairaland thread where you can meet vendors to assist with visa fee payments. I’d been using Nairaland for over six years, so I was confident in my ability to identify scammers. I found a cheap vendor, and in my haste and excitement, I didn’t run the necessary background checks on him.

I sent him ₦170k. This man said he didn’t see it. I called my sister who works at my bank, and she confirmed that he’d recieved it. Then, this dude blocked me. I decided to check the guy’s history on Nairaland and saw that many people had called him out for scamming them. Terrible experience. 

“They spent far more than what they owed me” — Tobi, 21

In 2023, I was broke and unemployed. I had a friend who was working and living an expensive life. But when they asked me to lend them some money, I didn’t find it strange because they’d done that before. I gave it to them, and they promised to return it the next day. 

The next day, I went to visit them, and they suggested we go to the salon. This person spent far more than what they owed me, right there, in front of me. When we got home, I asked for my money, and they claimed not to have it. I was stunned. I got the money a few days later, but seeing them do those things while still owing me, lives rent-free in my head.


Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.