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CBN alerts customers on COVID-19 cyber-attacks, fraud

Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN
Corporate headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN in Abuja

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has alerted the general public that cyber-criminals are taking advantage of the current COVID-19 pandemic to defraud citizens, steal sensitive information, or gain unauthorized access to computers or mobile devices using various techniques.

A statement signed by Mr. Isaac Okorafor, CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, indicated that some of the cyber-criminal activities using the COVID-19 pandemic include:

“Phishing Campaigns: Cyber-criminals send out emails claiming to be from health organizations such as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). The email may contain a link which, if clicked, steals login credentials or other confidential information from the victim’s computer or mobile device.

“Relief Packages: Cyber-criminals have 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. 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.

“Impersonation: Cyber-criminals 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. Such mobile apps are however 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.

The CBN thus tasked members of the public to 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.

The CBN also advised the public to visit the official websites of relevant organizations for desired information,

The CBN also warned Nigerians to avoid clicking on links or attachments in emails that claim to have more information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; and to avoid downloading mobile apps from untrusted sources.

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