Tuesday Column By VICTORIA NGOZI IKEANO
[email protected] 08033077519
‘’Tinubu (2023) N30000 Campaign Grant
Benefits of This Campaign Grant
*To Create General Support
*To Support Youths and Every Citizen
*To create Awareness about Positivity of BAT
Hurry Now and Check if You Are Eligible to Receive
TINUBU (2023) N30,000 Campaign Grant
This Grant is available to ALL Nigerians
This is about the latest of internet scams making the rounds. The above message accompanied with a rather beautiful banner of a bespectacled Bola Ahmed Tinubu and APC logo together with a bold imprint of ‘N30000 Grant’ is being sent to whatsApp group platforms and others. The APC candidate is not alone in this. Here is the one for the PDP candidate that is also being sent/ forwarded to people. It is in plain text and titled, ATIKU/OKOWA 20000 Naira Election Campain Fund for Nigerians. It reads, ‘’Hurry Now and Check if you are Eligible to Receive 20,000 Campaign Fund From ATIKOWA Campaign Board for 2023 Presidential Election
This Money is Available To All Nigerians.
Apparently both candidates are targeted because they are seen as the leading contenders. And notwithstanding that these are frauds, many Nigerians would still apply in the belief that this is a new way by which politicians are seeking to bribe the electorate. When you scrutinise the wordings of above messages carefully, you would discern that they are scams. For example, there is nothing like ‘’ATIKOWA campaign board’’. What we have is Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council. Also, there is no website with the address, Tinubu.org When I searched for this address, it did not exist, the page was blank. But the https://lyupz.com/Atiku-okowa-Campaign2023 and https://tinyurl.com?Tinubu-N30000-Grant-2023 where applicants are directed to, is a trap. Should you click on it out of curiosity or temptation, some personal information would be demanded of you. More dangerous is that opening the links would enable them the scammers have access to all personal confidential information on your phone which they would use to perpetuate damaging frauds on you. It is called identity theft. Many people have experienced hacking of their phones/numbers whereby the perpetrators use their victims’ full names and numbers to send messages to the victims contacts on social media like, facebook, whatsapp platforms, emails, etc. While some of the victims contacts and social media friends might be able to see through the scam, reasoning that it is not in their friend’s character to send them such messages or make such posts, some others would innocently act on such messages/posts which are invariably financial requests, thereby losing their hard earned money. Internet identity thefts are becoming rampant somehow and the best advice would be for you to confirm any requests for help of any kind from any acquaintance by directly calling up the person and hearing from his/her mouth yourself.
Here is an international dimension of this grant type of scam. On November 19, 2022, I received an email from the ‘International Monetary Fund’, specifically the ‘International Monetary Fund/ United Nations Foreign Debt Settlement/ Reconciliation World Bank Headquarters’. It says, Dear Beneficiary, Greetings from IMF headquarters. We are surprised to hear that you declined our notification over your payment alert. This is the 5th times we’ve contacted you to receive your compensation sum of $1.5million dollars but all prove abortive. For your information the IMF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have paid many victims their compensation for the ongoing (COVID-19 Disaster Payment) as a relief scheme. Your details are now required for payment processing through our affiliate bank”. It then requests me to send my names and surname, contact home address, mobile telephone number, nationality, email address, age and gender, my occupation and position, a scan of international passport or driver’s license (for proof of identity) to, [email protected] It ends with, Yours Sincerely, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund. Yes, the name of IMF’s managing director is Kristalina Georgieva but this is clearly a fraudulent mail because the IMF does not use the very common @gmail for its email. Institutions, not least an international one like IMF, incorporate their names into their email addresses. Moreover, I never received any previous payment alert from them and never applied for any COVID-19 relief scheme. Even if the IMF was giving such relief package would it give it directly to individuals? Such international financial organisations route their grants through countries. More intriguing is, which organisation in this world, no matter how rich, would give $1.5 million dollars to each person as a relief package? Still some people may fall for this scam considering that the quoted relief fund is quite huge. Should they respond to this scam they would discover that the scammer(s) would be asking literally endlessly, for money to process one thing or other (while giving impression that they are almost at end of the processing procedure) until the victim is financially drained out.
Yet a third form of funds-related fraud is when someone contacts you saying he/she was bequeathed a humongous amount of money and wants you to invest it for him/her in your country with a promise to give you a share of the funds. I receive a number of these in my email box. Here is one of them from one Ella Bon ([email protected]). It reads in part, “I am Miss bonella. Greeting to you my Dearest. Please I need your help and assistance. Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I am Miss Bon Ella, the only daughter of late Mr. and Mrs. Bon Kadjo. My father was a very wealthy cotton merchant in Bobodiolasso, the industrial farming zone of Burkina Faso. My father was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outings on a business trip. My mother died when I was a baby and since then my father took me so special’’. She goes on to say that before her father’s passing he left her a whooping sum of $200million dollars and she wants me to invest this money for her in Nigeria because she trusts me completely, promising me 20 per cent of it! I confirmed from Google that Bobodiolasso does exist as a city in Burkina Faso. But, my goodness, anyone that can conveniently gift his child $200 million dollars should have a mention in Forbes list of billionaires. However, the name Kadjo or his inheritor (supposedly Ella Bon) is not even listed among Africa’s 1000 richest persons. In fact the name is not on the list at all. More baffling is, which reasonable person would entrust a total stranger like me with such huge, huge sum to invest for her? Are there no licensed investment companies and investment experts in the whole of Burkina Faso that she can consult?
This is outright scam. And yet, some gullible persons may still fall for it, wishing to try their luck. For all you know this so-called Ella Bon may be a Nigerian sending me this scam email from my backyard. Cyber scams, internet frauds, email scams, etc, whatever you may call them can be deciphered by looking out for grammatical errors in them, putting on our thinking caps or scarves whilst carefully reading through them and listening to our inner voice, our intuition.