“As a way of celebrating his birthday and giving back to the street from the donations, Davido is giving out free 5k airtime and 10GB internet data of all networks,” it reads.
“Hurry now to get yours, I just got mine, Also forward to other groups and friends so they can benefit.”
The message then gives a series of shortened bitly links for people to apply for the supposed giveaway.
The singer, whose full name is David Adeleke, did recently celebrate his 29th birthday. But is he really doling out airtime and data?
Stealing personal information
The grammatical errors in the message signal that it was not issued by the kind of professional company that would handle the dealings of a major artist like Davido.
The links simply lead to a poorly designed web page, easily set up for free with Google’s Blogger service, that asks visitors to supply their phone numbers to get the airtime and data. This is an attempt to steal valuable personal information.
The message also asks users to forward the links to other WhatsApp groups. This is engagement bait: a way to increase the reach of a message by asking users to comment and share. The more people do this, the further the message spreads.
Read our guide on how to spot online scams here.
‘Identity theft and other scams’
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is responsible for overseeing the activities of telecoms companies.
In a 23 November 2021 statement, the NCC warned consumers not to apply for the giveaway.
“The adverts are what they are – social engineering rip-offs designed to get people’s MSISDN and other information that fraudsters can use later to defraud unsuspecting telecom consumers and members of the public,” the statement reads.
MSISDN stands for mobile station integrated services digital network. It’s the phone number that identifies a smart phone during calls or connections to the internet, and could identify the subscriber.
“Therefore, it suffices to state that any unscrupulous person or unethical hacker can use the number and attendant protocol to undermine the privacy of the real owners of the number through identity theft and other scams,” the NCC said.
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