By Hassan Zaggi
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has warned Nigerians to be vigilant as there may be increase in the rate of fraud and cyber related crime in the country.
He gave the warning in a statement signed by the Force Spokesman, Frank Mba, in Abuja, Sunday.
According to the him, intelligence available to the police that suggests that “fraud and cybercrime are expected to rise at this time owing to the lock-down emplaced by government at all levels to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The statement stressed that, “specifically, intelligence obtained from the INTERPOL Headquarters shows that scammers in Nigeria and other parts of the globe have begun to create and set up fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, fake social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver (covid-19) medical products.
“In some cases, they use the names of prominent companies involved in the production and distribution of these items. Victims are then asked to pay via bank transfer.”
In order to avoid being victims of the fraudsters, the IGP enjoined Nigerians to, among other things, avoid opening suspicious emails and clicking on links in unrecognized emails and attachments; ensure proper back-up of online and offline files regularly and securely; use strong passwords for securing your emails and social media handles and keep your software updated, including antivirus software.
Other measures, according to the IGP, include “manage your social media settings and review your privacy and security settings; be wary of scammers who use names of prominent companies to create fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver medical products.”
He, further, advised Nigerians to ignore and promptly report calls purportedly emanating from a caller who pretends to be a relative currently being treated at hospital asking you to pay for the cost of the medical treatment by transferring money or by paying cash to fake public health representatives and do not open letters or emails related to the pandemic from unknown persons who claim to be health authorities. Often times criminals access sensitive information, steal personal information and steal funds of victims by tricking them into connecting to a specific webpage and logging-in with their credentials;
He advised that if one eventually becomes a victim, he/she should report to the police immediately.
Against the foregoing, the IGP has placed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja – Nigeria on red alert.
The IGP, however, assured the public that the Force is unrelenting in clamping down on criminals who may want to take advantage of the situation to perpetrate criminal acts.
He vowed to provide support services to relevant agencies saddled with the task of curtailing and containing the COVID-19 pandemic.