On Thursday, April 2, 2020, Fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) received several copies of a WhatsApp message for verification on our Fact-Checking WhatsApp platform.
The viral broadcast message called on members of the public to apply for N10,000 weekly allowance from a former vice-president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar. According to the message, the gift from Atiku would serve as an incentive for Nigerians to stay at home during the coronavirus lockdown period across the country.
A link provided in the message requested that applicants provide their data and bank details for the money to be processed by the Atiku Foundation, used as part of the domain name.
Like similar messages alleged to have originated from the federal government of Nigeria debunked by CDD, checks by our team of fact-checkers revealed that this also is a SCAM.
CDD checks showed that after filling the form, applicants are asked to share the message with 10 of their WhatsApp contacts to complete the application process, a well-known method used by scammers over the years.
Data usually gathered from such sites are used by criminally-minded elements to either impersonate the victim whose data they have stored from the sites, defraud them, or sell their data on the ‘black market to other scammers. This may cause great havoc on the socio-economic well-being of victims.
In most instances, they reach out to their victims using the phone numbers and emails stored on the site to get other details such as account numbers and credit card pins.
Warning the public against falling victims to the scam, a statement released on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, by Paul Ibe, the media adviser to Atiku on Twitter described the claim as fake.
Ibe through his handle, @omonlakiki said: “I wish to bring to the attention of Nigerians that the notice circulating on social media directing unsuspecting people to a link is FAKE and not connected to the former Vice President @atiku. For the avoidance of doubt, it is a SCAM.’’
The former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has not promised to share N10,000 weekly to Nigerians to #StayAtHome. It is a SCAM. Please do not click on the link and do not share.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in a warning to Nigerians, said: “While #StayAtHome, do not fall for a scam. This is a phishing site; criminals want to get your personal information/details to defraud you financially. (The Cable)