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COVID-19: CBN cautions Nigerians on activities of cyber criminals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cautioned Nigerians on activities of cyber criminals taking advantage of the current COVID-19 pandemic to defraud citizens.

The CBN gave the warning in a statement signed by the Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor in Abuja on Monday.

Okorafor explained that the criminals steal sensitive information or gain unauthorized access to computers or mobile devices using various techniques.

He said this trend was not peculiar to Nigeria as there had been a rise in COVID-19-related cyber criminal activities all over the world.

According to him, the CBN priority is to ensure that Nigerian banking customers are aware of the ongoing trend, to prevent them from falling victims to such cyber crimes.

He stated that the criminals had also produced COVID-19 maps to steal information in the background.

Okorafor urged citizens to be wary of these antics and not to fall victims to these cyber crimes.

He said while Nigerians work to keep safe physically and prevent further spread of the virus, they must also endeavour to apply caution in order to beat not just the COVID-19 virus but also the cyber criminals seeking to take advantage of its spread for nefarious acts.

He stated that one of the cyber crime activities was phishing campaigns where the criminals sent out emails claiming to be from health organisations such as Nigerian Centre for Disease Control or the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The director said that the email might contain a link which if clicked, steals login credentials or other confidential information from the victim’s computer or mobile device.

Okorafor disclosed that other means were on relief package where cyber criminals had also been sending messages via social media or emails asking people to click on links to register in order to get their relief packages from government or other organisations.

He said that the criminals would simply use this to get confidential information from unwary victims.

According to him, the relief package scams also come in the form of phone calls asking people to provide their banking details to receive relief packages.

He stated that CBN would continue to monitor and investigate these activities and provide updates as they occur.


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