Humiliated and broke.
This is how 23-year-old professional artist Bright Ntuli feels after he was cheated of around R 40,000 by “potential investors”.
Ntuli believed him Ntuli, who lives in Johannesburg but is from Pietermaritzburg, said he received a text message last month from a person introducing himself as a broker for the Norwegian bank governor who wanted to unite and start his work internationally. The text message was from a South African cell phone number.
As someone who normally posts their work on social media, the text message came as no surprise, especially as the alleged “broker” sounded like someone familiar with Ntuli’s work . They stated that he wanted to help him to become known beyond the SA’s borders.
“I’ve always wanted to achieve that since I became a professional artist in 2017. It was this great opportunity and I thought the moment I was waiting had arrived. I told myself I would get it, ”he told TimesLIVE.
Ntuli said after a few text messages and phone calls that the conversation continued via email.
At this point, he started doing what he thought was his homework.
First, he checked the bank the contact wanted to work for and found it existed. “I was a little satisfied here because it was a legitimate person,” he recalled.
He said the man also sent a photo of himself and held his passport in his hand. < / p>
“Everything looked real and believable. I trusted that I was dealing with a real person who would help me to achieve my dreams, ”he said.
A few days later, as a foreigner, he was told that he would take certain documents need to allow him to exhibit his work internationally. The “governor” made the process easier and brought in a lawyer for Ntuli to help with the formalities. That’s when the problems started.
“The lawyer looked real too. They sent me links to their website and everything looked real, ”he said.
He was asked to deposit about R100,000 into an account and was told the money would be used to process the required documents would be used. He was only able to collect about 40,000 R with the help of friends and family.
“I told them I would pay them back with interest within two weeks because I believed I would get all the money back after the project he said.
After depositing the money, he got the shock of his life and found that he had been betrayed after failing to contact the team. The email address they used was no longer valid, along with the phone number they communicated on.
“I saw that I had been scammed after going online and discovering that many people had become victims. The documents they sent me were actually photoshopping. It’s so hard to accept. “
He opened a criminal case with the police but is now grappling with the humiliation of it all.
” I can’t even stand these people from whom I borrowed money because I look like a liar. I have to find ways to pay it back, “he said.
At the moment he’s hoping to sell some of his art so he can pay off his debt.
” I just want to see Look at the whole thing, ”he said