Salawudeen Abiola, a journalist, has narrated how online fraudsters used a fake BBC News Nigeria Facebook page to defraud him of N90,000.
Abiola told FIJ that he came across a supposed BBC News Nigeria Facebook post on April 13 promoting one Norland investment.
According to the journalist, the post read that Norland Investment, a bitcoin trading company, had made life easy for many Nigerians, who had invested with them, in the past.
Abiola said he instantly embraced the offer promoted in the advert and followed the WhatsApp link in the Facebook post without thinking twice.
“I felt the investment would be genuine because the BBC had published an article on them,” he said. “The link directed me to a WhatsApp group that had the name Norland Investment. The admin of the group instantly engaged me, saying I could invest between N30,000 and N100,000 and make so much money in return.”
The WhatsApp group’s handler also told Abiola that his capital would be doubled within an hour if he agreed to pay into a certain bank account.
“I chose to start the investment with N50,000. The handler said he would give me a discount of N5,000 on the payment. So, I quickly transferred N45,000 to the account I was given,” Abiola said.
“After an hour, he requested that I transfer another N45,000 into the same account. I asked him why he did not tell me earlier that I would have to add to the initial payment I had made, but, he said it was because it was a bitcoin investment that would fetch me a fortune.
“He also said it was necessary I made the additional payment so as to make more money.”
Abiola added that moments after he made the second N45,000 transfer, the same handler reached out to him a third time, advising him to make yet another N45,000 payment.
“This was when I raised an eyebrow,” he said.
A man, who introduced himself as the managing director of the company, would later reach out to the journalist on the phone, persuading him that the investment was indeed genuine.
“I became worried and decided to visit the page one more time to check the comments section. But, surprisingly, two supposed investors had posted comments claiming they had received their payments in full,” the journalist said.
“I eventually realised I had been scammed when I called them hours later. As I was speaking with the person who called himself the managing director, another person in the background shouted ‘Maga don pay’. They did not block me, but my N90,000 is still hanging there.”
When FIJ called Norland’s boss via the phone number provided by Abiola, a lady picked up the call, saying it was a wrong number.
Further findings by FIJ revealed that the page Abiola had interacted with on Facebook was fake, as it was without a verified logo. The page also had less than a thousand followers.
At press time, the link leading to the WhatsApp group had been removed from the page. However, the page is yet to be pulled down on Facebook.
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