Information circulating across social media platforms, best illustrated through this link web message, claims that Nigeria’s Federal Government has approved to disburse 30,000 to citizens as Covid-19 lockdown funds.
The claim that FG will disburse 30,000 via the said link is untrue. Both the Federal Government and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have confirmed the information to be a ruse.
Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, a flood of misinformation has overwhelmed media platforms. While many can be dismissed outright, some seek the emotional and persuasive paths of human vulnerability to achieve virality, such as with the claim that the federal government has approved the disbursement of 30,000 Naira to Nigerians as COVID-19 lockdown funds.
The link requires that users click to respond to some questions and subsequently share the link to others as a prerequisite to access the said fund. A Facebook page captioned, “FG lockdown funds” reiterated the same claim. The page, created 15 June, has already garnered 96 members. Similarly, we found out that users had shared the link over 9,550 on Facebook and 10,503 on WhatsApp. We made this discovery through Linktally, a web tool that checks how many times a link is shared across social media platforms.
Interestingly, this claim is reminiscent of a similar claim in March which alleged that Femi Adesina announced that Nigerians with Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) will be given 30,000 Naira as relief funds. And while Mr Adesina refuted the report, some Nigerians continue to nurse hopes for its actualisation, thus justifying the need to put the claims up for scrutiny and validation.
Preliminary investigations led us to a tweet by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), an official government body tasked with the development and regulation of information technology. Regarding the would-be Covid-funds, the agency labelled it, “fake news”. The agency further warned Nigerians to beware of such fake websites orchestrating claims to managing the lockdown funds. The sole authority with a voice on the matter, according to NITDA is f the Federal Government.
Similarly, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development tagged the claim as “Fake News” via a post on their Facebook page and warned Nigerians to be wary of fraudulent calls, messages, and schemes.
Furthermore, we further expanded our scrutiny on the link in question by running an analysis of the site on Scam Doc (a reliable tool that checks the credibility of websites). The results rated the site at 1% which is a “very bad trust score”, signalling doubts of suspicion on the website.
Also, we uncovered the link in question to be a data phishing website. These sites are usually riddled with installed root pop-up ads that generate traffic through fraudulent schemes; worse still, they engage in the extraction of users’ data and financial details for nefarious purposes.
The site lacks credibility for the claims it has made. Besides, requiring users to share its links and provide their bank details makes the site more suspicious and questionable. In sum, its methods make it look like a typical site for fraudsters. The claim is FALSE.