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Doctor Duped of N5.8 Million by Instagram Fraudster in Two Weeks | SEE CHAT

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Instagram Scam Costs Doctor N5.8 Million in Two Weeks

An unknown fraudster has managed to defraud Abigail Chukwu (not real name), a medical doctor, of about N5.8 million in two weeks.

Chukwu found a sponsored ad calling for online advertisers and marketers on Instagram on May 20. Interested, she got in touch with the poster.

The advertiser introduced herself as Cecilia Laura, and they moved the conversation to WhatsApp, where Chukwu learned of an online advertising job on amjumia.shop. Laura convinced her that the online advertising gig was linked to the e-commerce giant Jumia.

“There was a registration, and I did that registration after a payment. She sent me to the task manager on Telegram. That task manager put me through what the tasks were as an online advertiser, and I completed the first two tasks with his help. I then had to pay N6,000,” Chukwu told FIJ in June.

“The N6000 returned a N2000 commission after the task was completed. So, with N6000, you get N8000 back. I did this and got it. To get to the next stage, one would get through an 8-step procedure before it was unlocked. For each step I was going through, my money would finish, and I would have to top up the account again.

“It continued, and I got to a point where I had to make withdrawals. Normally, when one clicked on the withdrawal button, the webpage would lead one to the checkout page, where bank details would be filled and the money sent.”


The advertiser introduced herself as Cecilia Laura, convincing the victim in WhatsApp chats that the online advertising tasks were linked with Jumia.
Laura told Chukwu to contact a task manager on Telegram when she couldn’t get her money out.
Charles, the task manager, said he would check with their finance department before he claimed only the general manager could help with the tax payment request.

The webpage told Chukwu that she had to pay a tax fee, something she had never done before. At this point, Chukwu’s capital had crossed the million mark.

Chukwu told FIJ that she contacted her task manager, who claimed he knew nothing about a tax fee before withdrawal was completed. The task manager advised Chukwu to contact their general manager.

“He gave me the link to chat with the manager on Telegram. That manager said, ‘Oh yes, because of the amount involved, there is a tax requirement from the bank to be able to clear such an amount,’” Chukwu narrated.

Geoff, the general manager Charles directed Chukwu to, said that the doctor had to pay 50 percent of her money before she could get it all out. He had convinced her to pay a separate 30 percent.
Geoff told Chukwu to pay all of the money to a Moniepoint bank account belonging to Deborah Bola Awolu.

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Chukwu explained that the manager told her that the tax payment was 30 percent of the total amount she was trying to withdraw.

The manager convinced her that she had to pay 30 percent, which was about N800,000 of the withdrawable amount. She did. The amount increased, and the manager told her the bank had asked them to pay another 30 percent of the newly increased total. She did so again.

Geoff told Chukwu to pay all of the money to a Moniepoint bank account belonging to one Deborah Bola Awolu.

Chukwu told FIJ that the same manager said the same bank asked for another tax payment. This time, 50 percent of the total amount. She was done. Chukwu told the manager that she couldn’t pay anymore, as the 50 percent tax requirement he quoted was well over N2 million already.

The manager told Chukwu that there was nothing he could do and that the bank held on to the money because it was screening the large figures for money laundering.

“His explanation didn’t add up anymore. I even asked the manager if they didn’t have a loan facility to help me pay such taxes to get my money back. He said no,” Chukwu told FIJ.

“My entire money hanging with them is about N7 million [including the so-called commission}. I am in debt already, and they keep asking me to pay more to get my money out.”

FIJ has found numerous indicators that Chukwu fell for an elaborate social media/messaging fraud scheme.

A Nigerian on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter, raised the alarm on the same scheme eight days before Chukwu saw the advertisement on Instagram.

“There’s this scammer that was casted on Twitter last year? That the bank account name is Awolu Deborah Bola [on a] Moniepoint account number. WhatsApp name is Edith Orji. They’re on IG, offering virtual task jobs using Jumia Nigeria as their partner and scamming N6000 at least,” @Traymama_ posted on X on May 12.

This X user was the only one to raise the alarm, and her post received only 76 views before it got lost in the billions of posts in May.

An X user raised the alarm that the same fraud scheme was on Instagram, but her post received only 76 views.

 

@Traymama recalled that there were victims of this fraudulent scheme in 2023. Edith Orji and Cecilia Laura are names too generic for FIJ to pinpoint the actual fraudster responsible for now.

Truecaller brands Cecilia Laura’s phone number as ‘Scammer’.

The amjumia.shop website is unsafe and many scam checks have been conducted on it. It is also not linked to Jumia.

Two Kenyans complained about falling victim to the same fraudulent scheme this month. It is an international scam.

When FIJ reached out to the task manager and the general manager, they did not respond to any of the questions.

Although the fraudster used a Moniepoint account to receive the proceeds of the scam, a Moniepoint representative told FIJ to report the case to law enforcement.

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