PMB artist loses R40,000 in international scam

PMB artist loses R40,000 in international scam

Bright Ntuli is an incredible artist who unfortunately fell victim to the convincing world of scamming.

Bright Ntuli art\

We've all seen those emails before. You know the ones that have been sent by a prince claiming to need your help, or a long-lost uncle who is suddenly informing you of your inheritance.

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More often than not, the average citizen can recognise a poorly constructed scam. There has also been major media coverage as this plague of scams has become more and more mainstream.

However, not all scams are created equal.

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Bright Ntuli is a young up-and-coming artist from Pietermaritzburg, who now resides in Johannesburg. He is only 23, but he is very clearly a super talented artist who has created beautiful work.

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That's why no one would truly blink an eye if he were to be approached by "potential investors". It does make sense.

Sadly, Bright was left heartbroken, broke, and humiliated when he lost R40,000 to these people.

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Speaking to TimesLive about the incident, Bright said he was contacted by a Norwegian-based art gallery with a business proposal for a possible partnership.

He says that he was contacted via SMS just last month and that the person introduced themselves as a broker for the Norwegian bank governor. They were hoping to help him break out of South Africa and take his work internationally. He obviously got very excited but he did note that the SMS came from a South African number.

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Bright uses social media to promote his work and the "broker" had seemed familiar with his work, so everything was adding up.

He had chosen to become a professional artist in 2017 and this is the big opportunity he had been waiting for. Like any other normal human being, this would be a great achievement for him and he wanted to grab ahold of it.

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They two started communication via SMS and calls and then switched to email.

Ntuli thought this would be the time to do his due diligence and find out if this is 100% legit.

He checked the bank details, which turned out to be real, and the man sent him pictures of himself and his passport as proof.

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After a few days, he was told that he would need special documents because he was a foreigner and these documents would allow him to exhibit his work internationally. With the "governor's" assistance, they employed a lawyer who would facilitate the process. He was sent links to their website and everything looked good.

Until it didn't. Things were about to get shady.

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These "lawyers" told Ntuli that they would need R100,000 to process the necessary paperwork, but he could only give them R40,000, which he was able to raise with the help of his friends and family. He was planning on paying them back, with interest, once the project kicked off.

But after the money was deposited, the "governor", "broker", "lawyer", everyone disappeared without a trace and Bright was left in shock.

The email address was no longer in use and the phone number was now invalid and disconnected.

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He has now opened a criminal case with the police but the damage has been done and his hope is that he can now put this behind him and sell his artwork so he can repay his debt.

It's an incredibly tragic story, and the sad fact is that he hasn't been the only victim of online scams and he probably won't be the last.

There will always be villainous people waiting to take advantage of the innocent and kind.

Hopefully, he will be able to sell his wonderful works of art and may he find success.

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Main image courtesy of @brightntuliart/Instagram

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