Claim: a certain web-based message going round on WhatsApp claims that the Federal Government is offering N10,500 weekly as COVID-19 second wave grants.
The claim going round via a web-based message that claims the Federal Government is offering N10,500 weekly as COVID-19 second wave grants is false. The spokesperson to the Federal Agency affiliated with the claim confirmed that the link is fraudulent and false.
When it became evident that the only way to curtail the spread of COVID-19 was through social distancing, the need for lockdown became paramount. Though a good precautionary step towards curtailing the virus, the action came with diverse difficulties, chiefly amongst such issues meant jobs had to be worked out from home. This also implies that persons whose jobs demanded presence would have to stay idle and jobless; which meant no salaries and income for the duration of the lockdown.
Courtesy of this reality, most countries supplied palliatives and cash support in order to support those whose jobs or businesses were affected by the lockdown. For fact-checkers, however, this reality came with a new challenge as multiple fraudsters capitalized on this narrative to infiltrate unsuspecting members of the public into falling victims of their ruse schemes. Even worse, multiple websites that claimed to offer palliatives were confirmed by DUBAWA to be phishing sites for boosting adverts or data collecting sites for financial fraud.
In Nigeria, these schemes became prevalent on the social media space, even months ago, Information circulated across social media platforms, illustrated through a link web message, claiming that Nigeria’s Federal Government has approved to disburse 30,000 to citizens as COVID-19 lockdown funds. Though DUBAWA had debunked the information, many people had already fallen victim to the scheme mostly for how it appeared convincing, and how wide it circulated.
Courtesy of this identified avalanche of pre-existing schemes in the guise of providing COVID-19 palliative, DUBAWA subjects similar websites to scrutiny. To identify its verity, as some may not be deceitful. In this case, a certain web-based message making rounds on Whatsapp, claims that the Federal Government of Nigeria is offering N10, 500 weekly as grants for COVID-19 second wave in the country.
The link has been shared and forwarded multiple times on WhatsApp and when opened at the first stage; the user is welcomed with this notice: “All Nigrian Citizens are Entitled to N10,500 per week to stay at Home in a bid to control the spreed of COVID19 Second Wave, Proceed Now To Apply By Filling The Provided Form and Choose Your Preffered Payment Method, Your Account Will Be Credited As Soon As Possible.👇👇👇”
On the same page, the user is required to type in name and phone number. Designed with the emblem of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the picture of Sadiya Umar Faraouk, the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development, the page also contained acclaimed testimonial comments of persons who have benefited from the grants.
As a procedure to access the said grant, the user is also expected to answer three questions: “what is your employment status; what is your marital status and what is your age range?” After answering the questions, the user is obliged to also invite friends/groups up to a certain maximum number indicated by a bar on the page before accessing the withdrawal Code.
Nonetheless, as regards prior instances where DUBAWA had to verify similar claims, the case under study becomes also pertinent to be subjected to further scrutiny and analysis.
To confirm the veracity of the claim, DUBAWA reached out to the Spokesperson, ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development via a phone call.
With stern clarity, she said that the information is false and the link/website in question is fraudulent. Further advised members of the public to be wary of such websites pledging COVID-19 grants. In her actual words, the spokesperson clarified that “the information is false and the link is fraudulent. I will advise members of the public to stay off such sites promising COVID-19 grants and palliatives. If the ministry will give grants, it will do so using the appropriate channel.”
Other red flags identified in the claim are the prevalent errors in spellings. Nigeria was misspelt as “Nigrian” spread was misspelt as “spreed” and preferred was spelt as “preferred“. Even more, the whole paragraph is a grammatical blunder as uppercases alphabets are assigned to words carelessly.
Furthermore, even after completing the said procedure, the user is still not offered the said grants. Even more, an analysis of the link on ScamDoc reveals that the domain name is very recent (less than 6 months) with a short life expectancy that is linked to one or more countries known for being used by fraudulent websites.
The claim that the Federal Government is offering N10,500 weekly as COVID-19 second wave grants is, therefore, false, misleading, and fraudulent.