Cover Crime

Covid-19: Police raises alarm over looming increase in crime rate

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.

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