The Central Bank of Nigeria has urged bank customers to avoid cybercriminals who are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud citizens. According to the CBN, the fraudsters steal sensitive information, or gain unauthorised access to computers or mobile devices using techniques. A statement signed by the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, on Monday said this trend was not peculiar to Nigeria as there has been a rise in COVID-19-related cybercriminal activities all over the world.
He said, “Our priority is to ensure that Nigerian banking customers are aware of the ongoing trend to prevent them from falling victim to such cybercrimes.” He stated that some of the cybercriminal activities included phishing campaign and relief packages. Cybercriminals, he noted, often sent out emails claiming to be from health organisations such as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control or the World Health Organisation.
“The email may contain a link which, if clicked, steals login credentials or other confidential information from the victim’s computer or mobile device,” he stated. He said the cybercriminals had also been sending 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.
Okorafor said, “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.” While explaining the impersonation techniques, he said, “Cybercriminals place 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.