I sh!t you not.
I lost $11,271 without even knowing it at the time.
You see, as a 19 year old entrepreneur at the time I had no clue what I was doing.
As a college entrepreneur, I was learning by doing.
I started a watch brand that sold cool watches and sunglasses.
We grew it to just over six figures in the first year.
What I didn’t know, was that wire transfers are ripe for fraud.
I thought I was sending money to my manufacturer.
I ended up sending about 30% of our invoice to a fraud.
At the time, I had no clue how it happened.
I didn’t even know I had fallen victim to a fraud until three weeks later when the manufacturer asked for 30% of the invoice to start production.
What the f*ck I thought?
I already paid.
After much emabarrassement on both ends, I realized a hacker had gotten into their email servers.
Whenever they sent a email, it went through the hacker.
All the hacker did was change the bank account numbers.
Being a first time entrepreneur at the time, I should have confirmed this bank account over Skype, WeChat, or Whatsapp.
But hey, stupid me at the time didn’t think twice about a fraud.
I had already planned a trip to China before this fiasco to meet my manufacturers.
I was frustrated to say the least.
I worked hard as sh!t for that money.
And then it was gone in a flash.
When I got to China, one of the first things I did was go to the bank where the fraud supposedly banked.
Maybe they can help me I thought.
They had the interest of their customer in mind.
Even if he was a fraud and even if I had the documents to prove it, this guy was probably long gone.
I then went to the Hong Kong police department.
Maybe they have a fraud detection unit.
They actually took my case right as I walked in.
I waited maybe ten mintues before a officer saw me.
I then began discussing my case.
The officer was very respectful and attentive.
He then brought in his senior team.
When I told them the amount of money I lost, they chuckled a bit.
Turns out this happens a lot, like a few times a day.
The amount I lost compared to others was nothing in their mind.
$11,000+ dollars is a lot to me.
I told them I would be everything I could to get that money back.
They understood that and said they would make a case to try and find the fraud but that the chances were very low.
I left the office with mix feelings, knowing I would probably never see that money again.
Though I wish I could end on a high note here, that was my biggest mistake as a entrepreneur.
That mistake was taken as a major lesson and I’ve now turned to focus my life on stopping manufacturing fraud.
We use Sourcify to ensure people have a smooth manufacturing process.
Since being a 19 year old entrepreneur, I’ve brought dozens of new products to market and been a part of projects that raised over $1mil on Kickstarter.
I’ve honestly only told my dad about this loss.
It’s the biggest loss of my professional career and I have the numbers #11271 written on the reminders tab of my phone so I always see it.
Take mistakes as lessons.