The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned the public about cyber-criminals taking advantage of the current “COVID-19” pandemic to defraud citizens, steal sensitive information, or gain unauthorised access to computers or mobile devices using various techniques.
In a statement signed by the bank’s director of corporate communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, on Monday, the apex bank said its priority was to ensure that The apex bank said its priority was to ensure that Nigerian banking customers are aware of the ongoing trend so they don’t become victims of such cybercrimes.
He explained further, “The cyber-criminal activities using the COVID-19 pandemic include phishing campaigns, where cyber-criminals send out emails claiming to be from health organisations such as the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) or the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The email, he said, “May contain a link which, if clicked, steals login credentials or other confidential information from the victim’s computer or mobile device.”
Another such activity Okorafor said, is through “Relief Packages’, whereby the cyber-criminals send messages via social media or emails asking people to click on links to register in order to get their COVID-19 relief packages from the government or other organisations.
“They simply use this to get confidential information from unwary victims. Relief package scams also come in the form of phone calls asking people to provide their banking details to receive relief packages”, he stated.
Okorafor also disclosed that the criminals use the ‘Impersonation’ technique by placing calls to individuals claiming to be staff of their banks and asking them to get mobile apps that would help them get through this pandemic period.
However, such mobile apps, he said, were used to steal information from the victims’ mobile phones among other things.
“Criminals have also produced COVID-19 maps, which steal information in the background,” he added.
To ensure that bank customers and citizens do not fall victim to these cyber-crimes, the CBN advised to please observe the following precautions:
“Beware of and verify emails or phone calls claiming to be from NCDC, WHO or government, especially when such emails request your banking information or to click on a link. Visit official websites of relevant organizations for desired information.
“Avoid clicking on links or attachments in emails that claim to have more information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Other precautions are to, “avoid downloading mobile apps from untrusted sources; and obtain relief package or other information from trusted news media.”