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How students fell victim to fake internet investment scheme

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Unlike many others, John Monday, a 20-year-old student of the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, escaped a scam scheme narrowly.

He had come by a link to a National Student Investment Fund (NSIF), purported to be worth over N200,000, on a WhatsApp group and decided to register for it.

John needed the grant to relieve his parents of his school fees which was hiked during the 2019/2020 academic session. He was optimistic until he was asked to pay a sum of N1000 into an account for verification before proceeding with the registration.
He became skeptical about the scheme and decided to make more research. And, in the end, he found out that he was about to be scammed.

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John is not the only student that escaped this scam. Usman Tatah, a student of Bauchi State University, Gadau (BASUG), also received the link from a friend who had no knowledge of the scheme. After registering, Usman said, he shared the link with others who eventually applied. After escaping the tricks in the scheme, he took to Twitter to raise the alarm, tagging concerned authorities.

Meanwhile, students of tertiary institutions across the country have fallen victim to the internet fraud. And while many found out early that the grant and the verification process was a scam, Mohammed Ibrahim of Ramat Polytechnic, Borno, was not so lucky. He found out only after paying. The 23-year old student who recently concluded his National Diploma programme, had planned to use the money to further finance his education and therefore thought the fund was worth the sacrifice of N1000.

The NSIF’s page allows interested students to register for the grant by filling in their basic bio data, including their Biometric Verification Number (BVN). Several aesthetic plots to convince students of the grant’s genuineness are placed on the website.

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The NSIF grant application has a lot of loopholes which could have been pointed out easily. However, for the lack of research on the part of many, they fell victim. Firstly, the website’s misspellings and claims of nonexistent organisations were apparent. For example, the Federal Government runs a Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), not Federal Government Youths Investment programme as claimed by the scheme.

Also, when this reporter attempted to make payment into the account indicated on the website, the name CHIPPER CASH/ABUBAKAR AMIR popped up, as opposed to a name expected from an official organization. Additionally, all mails sent to their supposed official email address for enquiries were never delivered, which suggests that the address is wrong or doesn’t exist.

TETFUND, on its social media pages, has dissociated itself from the claim on the NSIF website. In a disclaimer released at the weekend, the organisation denied having any collaboration with NSIF.

Efforts made to reach the NSIF pioneers through their email have been abortive and the website has since been taken down.

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