Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has warned Nigerians to beware of fake COVID-19 relief disbursement data collection forms that are in circulation on the internet, describing it as a fraud.
The information being circulated which has now gone viral on various social media platforms, requests users to provide their personal data such as phone number, email address, bank details etc.
NITDA speedily responded by cautioning Nigerians that the site is a fraudulent site and advised to be wary of such online requests. The agency noted that governments at all levels have established trusted channels of collecting information for the purpose of disbursing palliatives.
It hinted that the activities of the cyber-criminals are on the increase due to the lockdown and ‘Stay At Home’ directive being observed globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NITDA said: “The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) wishes to draw the attention of the general public to yet another fraudulent online data collection form that is capitalizing on the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians.
“The information indicates, that it is for the users to access various Government palliatives aimed at cushioning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This site is fraudulent site and Nigerians are advised to be wary of such online requests. Governments at all levels have established channels of collecting information for the purpose of disbursing palliatives.”
The Agency went on to say that it is doing everything possible to shut down all identified fraudulent online platforms as well as sanction those behind them.
As a general precautionary measure, it advised all internet users to observe the following: not to give out their personal information to any unverified data collection platform; avoid clicking unknown links; disregard offers to request for their bank details; not to share any unverified information via social media platforms, and know what to do when they become victims of cybercrime.
The Agency further calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its efforts at containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“We are all encouraged to strictly adhere to recommendations given by health experts and follow updates from relevant agencies handling this outbreak, especially the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF COVID-19) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” NITDA said.