By TOM CHIAHEMEN, Abuja –
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has drawn the attention of the Nigerian populace, especially telecoms consumers, to the fraudulent message being spread on the Internet by a fraudulent website.
The fake website (https://covid-19-fg-grant.blogspot.com/?=1) is asking Nigerian citizens to apply for a free Internet bundle ostensibly being given by the Nigerian government in collaboration with NCC.
“Nigerian government, in collaboration with NCC, is offering all Nigerian citizens up to 20GB of data to stay at home and get up-to-date information in a bid to counter the spread of COVID-19. All Nigeria citizens are entitled to free Internet connection to stay at home safely and enjoy the Internet in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19. The free Internet package is available to everyone starting from Friday, 27th March, 2020,” the deceptive website claims in its message.
The website suspiciously asks Nigerians to apply for the free Internet by clicking a web link, which automatically takes them to a webpage with a dialogue box where they are expected to fill in their bio data and other demographics.
NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, however said in a statement on Thursday that for the avoidance of doubt, “the NCC wishes to state categorically that neither the Nigerian government nor the Commission has issued such a message to Nigerian citizens.”
“In view of the above, the Commission strongly advises Nigerian citizens and all telecom consumers to beware of this fraudulent, false and spurious claim. The general public should discountenance the falsehood which has gained traction by the rise in tempo of its circulation,” Nkemadu said.
He emphasized that the message should be disregarded in its entirety, adding that the said website was “a sham and a total deception to dupe Nigerians of their hard-earned money, and to harness personal data for fraudulent purposes.”
“Consistent with the consumer-centric policy of NCC, the Commission wishes to sensitise Nigerians to the antics of cyber criminals, who will want to take advantage of this challenging period of a rampaging pandemic, and the stay-at-home directive of the government to scam telecom consumers and the general public.
“The NCC, therefore, uses this opportunity to reiterate its commitment towards deepening access to telecoms services and its dedication to strengthening the protective measures it has instituted to safeguard the rights of over 128 million Internet users across mobile networks in Nigeria,” Dr. Nkemadu stressed.