Maricel C. Caraiga, an ex-founder of an NFT project I'm holding - Anime Metaverse, has loaned money from community members and is currently neglecting repayment. A quick inspection of her address on etherscan shows a total of 2.157743148 ETH was loaned out to her from different community members.
It's devastating to see this scene as some of the lenders are the project's whale holders. It is further difficult to trust this person as different alibies/narratives were given to prompt holders to lend money.
What is my story?
I was made to believe that the funds were going to be used to help advance the project (which is not true). Initially rejecting to lend because of personal reasons, I was moved by this story to continue believing in the project. Ultimately, her persistence led me to lend ETH on the promise that it has to be returned in ETH within one (1) week of lending.
The transactions are as follows:
I know that the money I lent is negligible to some, especially when others have lent her more than $1,000; but for comparison, this money is enough for me to go on a 3-day city trip in Thailand.
Over the course of time, the narrative changed to a loan repayment process, and then subsequently taking out a loan. On April 7, 2023 (a month has passed), she has not complied with returning what she owes.
And kept giving other excuses.
And on May 14, 2023 (2 months have passed), I forced her to give me a promissory note to protect myself.
Highlighting the end clause that says: "Failure to do so will result into escalating the matter to my company for further assistance."
I have to be honest, this is the most pathetic promissory note I have seen; because any employee knows that the company is not liable for your financial endeavors.
On this day, she is considered a scammer since she still owes me ETH passed the due date stipulated in the promissory note. Since then, she has been unreachable both on Discord and on her personal number.
How to protect yourself from lending scams
Thank you for going through my story! Now, I will share with you three (3) tips to avoid these types of scams.
Conduct your due diligence
As I have mentioned, Maricel has borrowed money from community members with the earliest record of on December 2022. Noticing these minute transactions should inform you as a lender that this person is unable to pay her debts.
DO NOT LET TRUST OVERRULE YOUR LOGIC.
An additional website to help you analyze blockchain transactions is breadcrumbs.app. As shown below, this simplifies the wallets interacting with a specific wallet.
Ask for a promissory note before lending
Our lack of foresight due to blinded trust prompted us to lend without asking for a promissory note. A promissory note is a formal agreement between the debtor and the lender that contains the following:
Collateral in stake
The only downside to this is that this will require you to be doxxed.
Give what you can afford to lose
Initially, I only promised to give $300 but I ended up giving twice because of her persistence. Essentially, lending money is also a risk especially when the justice system has not caught up with technology. Giving more than what I can afford to lose felt like I was gambling over helping someone, and what will I eat in the next upcoming days.
DO NOT FORGET TO PRIORITIZE YOUR NEEDS BEFORE HELPING OTHERS.
And that's a wrap! I hope my experience getting scammed by a project's ex-founder was able to give you an idea of how to protect yourself in the web3 space.