The COVID-19 pandemic has been cause for alarm across the world in recent months – from disrupting global economies and international trade relations to perpetuating the largest work-from-home migration.
In the wake of this outbreak, fake news has wreaked havoc as people try to decipher what’s real and what’s fiction. Unsurprisingly, a number of fraudsters have used the current climate of confusion to capitalise off of unsuspecting Nigerians.
According to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), a number of fraudulent websites have been spreading misinformation and using phishing tactics to gain traffic.
Phishing can be particularly damaging to individuals because it gives cybercriminals access to a person’s private and sensitive information – like usernames, passwords or banking details.
The NITDA’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) believes that one such incident involves “misinforming the public that the Federal Government has ordered weekly payment of allowances to all citizens above the age of 18 for observing the ‘Stay At Home’ directive. It then requires the user to complete an online form with the personal information including bank details for the payment to be effected”.
The Guardian reveals that the NITDA is doing everything possible to shut down the fraudulent sites as well as sanction the criminals behind them. It also calls on Internet users to report such sites so that the necessary action can be taken.
A statement from the NITDA has asked citizens to “take precautionary measure, and observe the following whenever they are online: not to give out their personal information to anyone; avoid clicking unknown links; disregard requests for their bank details and know what to do when they become victims of cybercrime”.