The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has warned that cybercrime and fraud may increase on account of the lockdown imposed across the country to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, intelligence obtained from the International Criminal Police Organisation headquarters in Lyon, France, indicated that Internet fraud and other criminal activities were expected to rise at this time.
Adamu in a statement in Abuja, on Sunday, by the force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, said scammers in Nigeria and other parts of the globe have begun to create and set up fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, fake social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver COVID-19 medical products.
He said, “Specifically, intelligence obtained from the INTERPOL headquarters shows that scammers in Nigeria and other parts of the globe have begun to create and set up fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, fake social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver (COVID-19) medical products.
“In some cases, they use the names of prominent companies involved in the production and distribution of these items. Victims are then asked to pay via bank transfer.”
Against this development, the IG said he has placed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Interpol National Central Bureau, Abuja, on red alert.
He explained that the NCB which hosts the cybercrime unit of the Force, would in the coming days work closely with other Interpol member states across the globe to carry out intense monitoring of the internet highway in the most ethical manner.
To avoid the scammers’ traps, Adamu cautioned the public against opening suspicious emails and clicking on links in unrecognised emails and attachments.
Giving further security tips, the IG advocated proper back-up of online and offline files regularly and securely and use of strong passwords for securing emails and social media handles.
He noted, “You are advised to be wary of scammers who use names of prominent companies to create fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver medical products.”
“You should ignore and report calls purportedly emanating from a caller who pretends to be a relative currently being treated at the hospital asking you to pay for the cost of the medical treatment by transferring money or by paying cash to fake public health representatives,” the police added.