CBN warns Nigerians against falling victim to cybercrime

The Central Bank of Nigeria has called on the general public to beware of criminals who are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to defraud bank customers.

The Director, Corporate Commissions, Isaac Okoronkwo, in a statement yesterday, warned that cybercrime was on the rise, as perpetrators had taken advantage of the COVID-19 to defraud citizens.

The statement added that the trend was not peculiar to Nigeria, as it had been seen in other parts of the world, with techniques ranging from phishing campaigns and relief packages and/or impersonation.

“Cyber-criminals send out e-mails claiming to be from health organisations such as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control or the World Health Organisation. The e-mail may contain a link, which, if clicked, steals login credentials or other confidential information from unwary victims,” he stated.

While warning Nigerians to beware of unverified links with relief package, he added: “They have also been sending messages via social media or e-mails asking people to click on links to register in order to COVID-19 relief packages from the government or other organisations. They simply use this to get confidential information from unwary victims. The fraud also comes in form of phone calls, asking people to provide their banking details to receive relief packages.”

On impersonation, the apex bank warned that perpetrators of this crime “place calls to individuals claiming to be staff of their banks and asking them to get the mobile apps that will help them get through this pandemic period. Such mobile apps are however used to steal information from the victims’ mobile phones among other things. Criminals have also produced COVID-19 maps, which steals information in the background.”

However, to avoid being a victim of these cyber-criminals, the CBN warned the general public to verify emails and phone calls requesting provision of bank details and clicking on links.

The bank will continue to monitor and investigate these criminal activities and provide updates as they occur, he added.

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