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N20,000 Covid-19 relief fund for one million Nigeria youth? Beware of scam

This article is more than 3 years old

A message circulating on WhatsApp claims that the distribution of N20,000 to one million Nigerian youths as part of a pandemic relief fund will start in December 2020. 

The link in the message directs to a Google form titled “Covid-19 relief fund”. The form, which has also been shared on Facebook, asks for a number of personal details.

The form notes the fund is “non-governmental, but a combine donation of a private individual, foundation, and charitable organizations home and abroad”.

The first page of the Google form also says: “The application will be closed once we reach 1,000,000 and disbursement will be first come first serve.” reads. 

Link requests sensitive bank information

On the second page of the form, applicants are asked to fill in their  name, banking details, telephone number, nationality and state of residence.

The final page requests banking details. “Provide the bank details you want your fund to be disbursed to. NOTE: You can only get paid through our accredited banks,” it says.

On submitting the form, you receive this response: “Application successful. A confirmation mail will be sent to your mail shortly. Be kind to share with friends and family.”

But it’s a scam

This is a typical phishing scam, Prof Boniface Alese, a cybersecurity expert and lecturer at the Federal University of Technology Akure in southwestern Nigeria, told Africa Check.

“What they are doing is phishing. They use the form to collect data that they can use to either attack people directly or sell their information on the dark web. 

“The dark web is the black market where lots of illegal transactions go on, undetected. When your information is sold on the dark web, it exposes you to potential cyberattacks.”

Alese also said the scammers used a Google form to make it difficult for anybody to trace them.

Africa Check has in the past months debunked and exposed a number of scams related to Covid-19 relief, including one which falsely claimed that Nigeria’s federal government was giving N30,000 to each citizen. 

For more information on how to stay safe online, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them and steps to fight false information on WhatsApp

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