The Economic and Financial Crimes Commssion EFCC has cautioned the public against emerging online fraudulent tactics, being explored by internet fraudsters in the wake of the donations arising from the dreaded COVID- 19 pandemic.
The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, disclosed the development on Monday, April 6, 2020 in a statement released by Tony Orilade Acting Head, Media & Publicity of the commission.
Magu stated that the caution has become necessary, in view of the increasing number of complaints received by the Commission from innocent Nigerians falling prey to the antics of internet fraudsters, who are taking advantage of the pandemic to defraud unsuspecting targets.
In the last couple of days, home-bond internet users have complained of receiving several e-mails, sms, Whatsapp messages offering free services such as “Do-It-Yourself” Covid-19 tests; subscription to either Netflix, Hulu, DSTV, Government Intervention/Grant of N30,000 and other tricky offers.
Some of the fraudulent schemes are coming in the form of links that offer free data or request for the Bank Verification Number, BVN, and account details of their victims, assuring that such victims will be credited with money, as part of the federal government’s palliatives to cushion the effects of the running Stay At Home order.
According to Magu, many of the fraudulent online messages require recipients to click and fill out an online survey and forward same to ten (10) Whatsapp users.
The statement reads in part, “The messages are embedded with malwares and other malicious codes, when clicked trigger a program that steals and compromises mails, banking login passwords, credit-related information and other critical data contained on the recipient’s devices.
Magu further advised the general public to immediately take the following steps in protecting their data from theft and compromises:
i. Do not open unsolicited e-mails and click only on those that are from known and trusted sources.
ii. Do not click on any links or attachment with e-mails from unknown source.
iii. Take a closer look at URLs for spelling errors before clicking.
iv. If you need any information, go to the official website of the organisation.
v. Turn on personal Firewall on your devices.
vi. In case of on-line financial transactions, you must cross-verify with the recipient before making the payment. vii. Install and update Anti-virus on your devices. This is key.
According to Magu, “there is no online testing for COVID-19; such online link requesting for personal information to test for the coronavirus, or provide a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) method, is part of these fraudulent new methods aimed at defrauding Nigerians of their hard-earned money, please beware“.
The EFCC’s boss also cautioned against offers of bitcoin and any offer to advertise a business and get paid. He said, “Be wary of suspicious recommendations from friends on Facebook and Whatsapp claiming to offer investment opportunities they have benefited from”
Magu also advised members of the public to report any such fraudulent activity to the EFCC via its verified handle –@OfficialEFCC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or call the hotline: +234 8093322644.
Donations: EFCC Cautions Nigerians against Fraudulent COVID-19 "Do-It-Yourself Test"
The EFCC has cautioned the public against emerging online fraudulent tactics, being explored by internet fraudsters in the wake of the donations arising from the dreaded COVID- 19 pandemic.
— EFCC Nigeria (@officialEFCC) April 6, 2020
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