scam

  • Beware! FoodCo not offering anniversary cash to customers

    Claim: A link shared many times on many WhatsApp groups claims that as part of its 40th anniversary, FoodCo Nigeria is offering cash rewards up to 30,000 to its customers. 

    The company does not have any programme offering any such rewards. The claim is a bait by scammers to fleece members of the public. 

    Full Text

    A link, which surfaced recently,  has a claim that FoodCo Nigeria, a consumer goods retail chain, is giving people up to 30,000 in cash purportedly to celebrate its 40th anniversary. 

    Screenshot of the fake site

    The link has been shared multiple times on WhatsApp, asking members of the public to visit the website to fill out a survey and share to at least five (WhatsApp) groups and 20 friends as a condition to receiving the thirty thousand naira cash. 

    The condition to share before reward

    Verification 

    This researcher visited the website of the company, FoodCo to ascertain the veracity of the promotion. The twitter account FoodCo Nigeria showed no indication or information regarding any offer of cash to customers or members of the public. 

    A check on the company’s Facebook Page did not yield any post to that effect. In fact, on Thursday, 9 September 2021, the company put out a caveat about the promotion, stating that it is fake.

    FoodCo responds on Facebook

    An Inquiry sent to WhatsApp number +2349065050081 as seen on FoodCo Nigeria website also elicited a related message. It stated that the link and its content should be ignored. 

    This researcher reached out to the company through an email address [email protected] available  on its website. 

    A repondent named Adenike replied to an enquiry sent to the mail address [email protected] The message reads in part: 

    “Our attention has been drawn to the website purportedly offering cash 

    rewards for FoodCo’s 40th Anniversary, please disregard as it is a scam. 

    Please be informed that FoodCo Nigeria Limited is not organizing such 

    promo at this time.

    We do not promote such fraudulent activities.”

    Conclusion 

    FoodCo Nigeria has disclaimed the promotion link  about offering customers cash. Therefore, it is a fake website. It is a trap set for unsuspecting members of the public by scammers.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with Splash FM to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Website asking Nigerians to apply for Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme fraudulent

    Claim: A WhatsApp message is directing Nigerians to apply for Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) recruitment with N80,500 monthly stipend via a website.

    The information circulating on WhatsApp urging Nigerians to apply for the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) via a certain link is false. The legitimate link to apply for the programme is https://www.njfp.ng/apply.

    Full Story

    A WhatsApp post claims the Federal Government recently opened a portal for the recruitment exercise of Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) with a monthly stipend of N80,500.

    The post reads: “FG Opens Portal for Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) Recruitment (N80,500 monthly stipends). Apply Now

    “Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Portal; Are you a young talented Nigerian? Do you have an interest in enhancing your youthful employability, building leadership competencies, and transferring on-the-job skills? If yes, then worry no more because we have good news for you.

    “Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme is a one-year (12months) youth empowerment Programme. It is a partnership initiative between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).*

    *Hurry Now Apply and Check if You are Eligible to Receive (80,500 monthly stipends).*

    “_This Grant Is Available To All Cityzens_Please, share widely to other WhatsApp groups to help others apply. 

    “_Apply Here_https://tinyurl.com/Apply-FG-Jubilee-Programme.”

    A screenshot of the WhatsApp post

    Verification

    Dubawa first noticed the message is riddled with grammatical errors and irregular capitalisation of words.

    After clicking the link, the website was redirected to https://www.nigerian-jubilee-get-funds.online/?m=0#1631478308277. The landing page has a welcome message which says “NIGERIAN JUBILEE Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) is a youth empowerment partnership initiative between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Rising unemployment and the COVID-19 pandemic are all impacting the ability of young Nigerians to find work..

    Applicants will receive a monthly stipend which will be covered by the NJFP for the first year.

    (80,000 monthly stipends). Apply Now By Filling The Form Below👇👇.”

    The page requested applicants to provide personal details such as names, phone number, address and email address.

    Dubawa provided wrong information in order to access other pages of the website.

    A screenshot of the landing page of the website

    The second page reads: “Congratulations You are a step closer to geting listed as one of the beneficiary of Nigerian Jubilee Fellows Programme. Answer the following three questions to benefit immediately!

    1. What is Your Employment Status?

    2. What is your marital status?

    3. Why Do You Want This Grant?”

    A screenshot of the second page

    This reporter was thereafter asked to share the information with 15 friends or five groups in order to obtain the withdrawal code for the N80,500 stipend. Also, the page has a cloned Facebook comment interface that shows testimonials of beneficiaries.

    A screenshot of the page asking users to share information

    Further analysis using Domingdata, a web tool used to verify the authenticity of a website, revealed that the website has  IP geolocation of United States, California, Emeryville with several abuse reports.

    A screenshot showing the domingdata analysis

    What is the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme

    The Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) is a youth empowerment partnership initiative between the Federal Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

    The project was flagged off on August 31, 2021, by President Muhammadu Buhari with the aim of helping 20,000 graduates annually with post-COVID-19 job search.

    The programme aims to equip Nigerian graduates with practical knowledge and relevant skills for a 12-month period, with or without job experience, thereby connecting them with local job opportunities.

    The sectors include information and communications technology, financial services, trade, manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, mining, telecommunications, creative industries and technology, education, health, research and development. The programme will create three options for applicants upon completion of the fellowship, including retainship with respective host organisations, entrepreneurship opportunities, and a platform to compete and access future jobs and employment opportunities.

    How to apply for the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme

    Further checks by Dubawa show that the official website of the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) is https://www.njfp.ng/ as opposed to the one in the WhatsApp message. Applications are open from 6 September 2021 to 20 October 2021.

    To be eligible, applicants must;

    • Be a Nigerian citizen.
    • Be a fresh graduate (Bachelor’s Degree) from any discipline — not earlier than 2017.
    • Graduate with at least a Second Class Lower (2.2) and above.
    • Be at most 30 years old.
    • Not currently engaged in any employment.
    • Have completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) OR have a certificate of exemption from the NYSC.
    • Demonstrate interest/commitment in chosen career field.
    • Demonstrate interest/commitment to contributing to Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
    • Have excellent time management and a professional attitude.
    • Have good verbal and written communication skills.

    Interested applicants can begin the application process via this link, https://www.njfp.ng/apply.

    Dubawa has conducted several fact checks on misleading websites riding on the back of legitimate projects with the aim of deceiving people. One claimed MTN was giving out N20,000 cash, 5GB worth of data and cars to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Nigeria while another claimed the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) was recruiting to fill vacant positions in some ministries and department agencies.

    Conclusion

    The information circulating on WhatsApp urging Nigerians to apply for the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP) via a certain link is false. The legitimate link to apply for the programme is https://www.njfp.ng/apply.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • University of Oslo not offering fully funded scholarship as claimed in viral WhatsApp message

    Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims Oslo University is offering a fully funded scholarship to study free in Norway.

    This message is false and misleading. University of Oslo is not offering fully funded scholarships as claimed.

    Full Text

    Fraudulent websites offering fully funded scholarships to international students have become quite common and this is because fall admission season is upon us. 

    Dubawa has conducted fact checks on similar links offering fully funded scholarships to international students. In one case, Abu Dhabi University was said to be offering fully-funded scholarships while another that was fact checked claimed the Australian Government is giving out fully funded scholarships to international students to study at the University of Western Australia.

    The incessant strike in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions in recent times have resulted in students looking for greener pastures by studying abroad. Sadly, not all Nigerians can afford the huge fees and cost of living that studying abroad requires; some students have to rely on scholarships.

    Recently, a viral WhatsApp message claimed Norway is giving out fully funded scholarships to international students to study at Oslo University.

    It says the scholarship will cover full tuition fee, living allowance, accommodation, medical facilities, traveling allowance, unlimited work permit. The massage ended with a link, https://bit.ly/Norway-Scholarship-2021, where applicants can apply.

    “APPLY FOR NORWAY SCHOLARSHIP 2021, FULLY FUNDED SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY FOR FREE IN OSLO UNIVERSITY.*

    *It takes a few seconds to apply. Dont miss this opportunity.*

    *Benfits of NORWAY 2021 scholarship Program.*

    *The scholarship will cover.*

    -Full Tuition Fee

    -Living Allowance

    -Acoomodation

    -Medical Facilities

    -Traveling Allowance

    -Unlimited Work Permit.

    *APPLY HERE*

    https://bit.ly/Norway-Scholarship-2021”

    A screenshot of the WhatsApp message

    Verification

    Dubawa first noticed that the message contained grammatical errors and irregular capitalisation of certain letters that compromised its authenticity. Benefit was spelt as ‘Benfit’ and accommodation’ was spelt as ‘acoommodation’.   

    After clicking the bit.ly link, the website was redirected to https://scholarsintel.online/Norway/. The new website has a welcome message which says “Study in Norway With Course of Your Choice For Free through-out The years of program. The Oslo University Scholarship Program Enables International Students to Study in Norway Comfortably and Free. Applicants are to fill the form bellow and click on Apply 👇👇👇.”

    A screenshot of the landing page the website

    The form requested applicants to fill in their full names, course, email address, country and also if they have applied before.

    Dubawa provided wrong information in order to access other pages and was led to another website.

    The new website reads: “CONGRATULATIONS

    “Your application for the on going NORWAY scholarship has been received.To proceed to next page where you will select universities of your choice. Answer the following three questions to acquire your immediately! [1]

    “[1] Answer the following three questions to Continue!

    1. What is Your Current Level Of Study?
    2. Choose Your Age Range?
    3.  Which State Are You Intrested In?
    A screenshot of the congratulatory message

    After answering the questions, a message popped up immediately, saying that the application “has been approved for free” and that the applicant should fill the visa application form below.

    Applicants are then asked to share the information with 15 friends or five groups in order to obtain the visa form.

    A screenshot of the page asking users to share information

    Also, an image with the caption “UIO: International Summer School University of Oslo” can be seen at the upper part of the page.

    A screenshot of the image

    Analysis using Domingdata, a web tool used to verify website ownership, revealed that the website has  IP geolocation of United States, California, Sun City and has several abuse reports.

    A screenshot of analysis using domingdata

    University of Oslo International Summer School

    The University of Oslo International Summer School usually offers a number of scholarships and grants but only through this website https://www.uio.no/english/studies/summerschool/admission/scholarships/ as opposed to the one in the viral WhatsApp message.

    For 2021, scholarships were only awarded to the Norwegian language summer courses (NORA) and the scholarship covers only the course fee. Also, the application ended in March 2021.

    Conclusion

    Findings have shown that the University of Oslo is not offering fully funded scholarships to International students. This message is false and misleading. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • MTN Nigeria not celebrating 20th anniversary with N20,000 cash, 5GB data

    Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims that mobile telecommunications company, MTN, is giving out N20,000 cash, 5GB worth of data, and cars to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Nigeria.

    To mark its 20th anniversary, MTN, instead, gave all its customers free calls of up to 5 minutes, free 200MB data and promised to give 20 Honda HRVs to 20 customers.

    Full Story

    On Sunday, August 8, 2021, a viral WhatsApp message claims that mobile telecommunications giant, MTN, is giving out N20,000 cash, 5GB worth of data and cars to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Nigeria.

    A screenshot of the forward-as-received message

    The forward-as-received message attempts to direct readers to this website using a free URL shortener, bit.ly, that contains certain keywords such as MTN, anniversary and promo.

    The message reads: “MTN 20th ANNIVERSARY* 

    Dont miss out on this, Get 20,000 Cash And Free 5GB Worth of Data and also stand a chance of winning a car!!* 

    “By Answering Few Questions about MTN Services… It takes fews seconds to get your 5gb Reward. i just received mine, Also forward to others.*

    *Apply Here*

    https://bit.ly/MTN-20th-Anniversary-Giveaway.”

    After clicking the attached link, users are directed to https://mtn-anniversary-promo.get-noww.xyz/#1628434884696, a page with information that reads: “Congratulations…. You Were Invited To Participate In Our 20th Anniversary Celebration And Survey Help us become better by taking part in our survey to help improve our services

    Answer the following questions And Get Rewarded With 5gb Data Instantly And Also Stand A Chance of winning a Car And N20,000 Cash!.”

    A screenshot of the landing page of the website

    This message coincides with Nigeria’s largest mobile telecommunications operator, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, 20th anniversary. 

    MTN Nigeria launched its services on August 8, 2001. Since its launch, MTN has steadily deployed its services across Nigeria, connecting approximately 69 million people in communities across the country with each other and the world.

    Verification

    Dubawa clicked on the link and it directed this reporter to a page with a cloned MTN logo. A cloned Facebook post which shows purported beneficiaries of the giveaway testifying can also be seen on the website.

    The website asked this reporter to answer three questions to get rewarded.

    “Question 1 of 3: How Long Have You Been Using Mtn?

    Question 2 of 3 questions: How Is Our Service In Your Locality?

    Question 3 of 3 questions:Rate Our Customer Care Services Out Of 5 ?”

    After answering the questions, users are required to share the information with 15 friends or five groups in order to get N20,000 cash, 5gb worth of data and win a car.

    The notification reads: “Congratulation…After considering your answers,You are eligible To Win a car and also get 5Gb Worth Of Data And N20,000 Cash Instantly . Complete The Steps Below to get your Reward

    “-Last step, kindly Tap the “Invite Friends/Group” button below to share this information with 15 friends or 5 groups on WhatsApp so That They Can Also Benefit.

    “-After sending the invitation, click the “Get Reward” button and Fill Form:

    “Note: If you do not complete this step correctly, you will not get your reward.”

    A screenshot showing the congratulatory message

    Checks on the message showed that it contained grammatical errors and irregular capitalisation of certain letters that cast doubts on its authenticity. 

    Dubawa clicked on invite friends/group and it automatically asks you to open your WhatsApp. After this process, users are directed to a final page.

    The page reads: “Now Select Your Choice Below

    “GET DATA 

    “GET CASH.”

    A screenshot of the final page of the website

    Selecting either of the options redirect users to another website and no money or data was given as claimed.

    Further analysis using Domingdata, a web tool used to look for a website ownership information, showed that the website has IP geolocation of the United States and it has several abuse reports.

    A screenshot of Domingdata analysis

     What is MTN Nigeria giving customers to celebrate its 20th anniversary?

    Dubawa checked the official Facebook page of MTN Nigeria and found that to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the company is giving all customers free calls of up to 5 minutes, free 200MB data and 20 Honda HRVs to 20 lucky customers.

    The post was accompanied by a photograph and a caption saying: “Wow! It’s been 20 years of connecting with hearts and families. You have played a huge role in our growth over the years.

    “Cheers to brighter years ahead. #TogetherAt20.”

    A screenshot of the Facebook post

    Conclusion

    Findings have shown the claim is false and the website is fraudulent. To mark its 20th anniversary, MTN, instead, gave all its customers free calls of up to 5 minutes, free 200MB data and will also give 20 Honda HRVs to 20 customers.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Scam website offers Commonwealth scholarship

    Claim: A viral WhatsApp message is urging Nigerians to apply for the 2021 Commonwealth Scholarship to study for free in the UK

    Even though it is true the Commonwealth is offering fully funded scholarships, findings have revealed that the purported website open for registration is a click bait and the  message is misleading. 

    Full Text

    Nigeria is said to be the number one country of origin for international students from Africa. It sends the most students overseas of any country on the African continent, and outbound mobility numbers are growing at a rapid pace. 

    According to data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), the number of Nigerian students abroad increased by 164 percent in the decade between 2005 and 2015 alone– from 26,997 to 71,351, At least 40 percent of Nigerian overseas students are said to rely on scholarships.

    Recently, a viral  message  on WhatsApp asking Nigerians to apply for the commonwealth fully funded scholarships that “will cover full tuition, living expenses, accommodation, medical facilities, travelling allowance, stationery allowance and unlimited work permit,” caught attention. The message ended with the provision of a bit.ly link for applicants to apply.

    “*APPLY FOR UNITED KINGDOM SCHOLARSHIP 2021, FULLY FUNDED SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY FOR FREE IN Uk.*

    *It takes a few seconds to apply. Dont miss this opportunity.*

    *Benfits of COMMONWEALTH 2021 scholarship Program.*

    *The scholarship will cover.*

    -Full Tuition Fee

    -Living Allowance

    -Acoomodation

    -Medical Facilities

    -Traveling Allowance

    -Unlimited Work Permit.

    *APPLY HERE*

    bit.ly/UK-FreeScholarships”

    Screenshot of WhatsApp message

    Verification

    It was first noticed that the message contained several grammatical errors and irregular capitalisation of words.

    Dubawa clicked on the bit.ly link and it directed this reporter to a new website with a welcome message that reads “Study in United Kingdom With Course of Your Choice For Free through-out The years program.The CommonWealth Scholarship Program Enables International Students to Study in United Kingdom Comfortably and Free. Applicants are to fill the form bellow and click on Apply

    👇👇👇”

    The form requested applicants to fill in their full names, course, email address, country and whether this was their first application. 

    Dubawa filled in fake information, and this writer was led to another website. The new website congratulates the applicant, notifying them that their applications have been received, then it went further to request answers  to three questions quickly; 

    1. Current Level Of Study

    2. Age Range

    3. State of Interest

    After answering the questions, a message popped up immediately, that the application “has been approved for free” and that the applicant should fill the visa application form below.

    Screenshot of the approval information

    Applicants are then requested to share the link with their friends and groups. 

    Dubawa noticed irregular pop-ups while filling the application form,  in addition to excessive ads.

    Screenshot of pop-ups

    Further analysis using Domainbigdata, a web tool used to verify the authenticity of a website,  showed that the website has  IP geolocation of United States, California, Sun City and it has been reported several times for abuses, fraud, and attacks.

    Screenshot of Domainbigdata result

    But what is a commonwealth scholarship?

    It is an agency-nominated master’s programme, funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for candidates from eligible lower and upper middle income Commonwealth countries, to undertake full-time taught Master’s study at a UK university.

    These scholarships are offered under six development themes:

    • Science and technology for development
    • Strengthening health systems and capacity
    • Promoting global prosperity
    • Strengthening global peace, security and governance
    • Strengthening resilience and response to crises
    • Access, inclusion and opportunity

    Dubawa discovered that the commonwealth website looks different from the so-called scholarship website.

    Screenshot of commonwealth website

    How to apply for commonwealth scholarship

    Applicants must make their application through the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s  (CSC) online application system, in addition to any other application that they are required to complete by their nominating body. The CSC does not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system.

    So first off, applicants must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships.

    So each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria. 

    Applicants must check with their nominating body for their specific advice and rules for applying, their own eligibility criteria, and their own closing date for application.

    • Supporting documentation: Applicants must submit a list of supporting documents to ensure that their application is eligible. So applicants must have:
    • Proof that they are citizens or have refugee status of an eligible Commonwealth country: a copy of a valid passport (or national ID card) showing their photograph, date of birth, and country of citizenship uploaded to the online application system
    • Full transcripts detailing all their higher education qualifications including to-date transcripts for any qualifications they are currently studying (with certified translations if not in English) – uploaded to the online application system
    • References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referees to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request to submit online)

    Dubawa also observed that the Minimum qualification for the Scholarship is that applicants must be under 40 years of age as of September 1st of the current year, and applicants must hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as of August 31st of the current year for applying for Master’s degree or Doctoral degree respectively.

    Dubawa also saw that the scholarship covers fees, approved fares, and personal maintenance. Other scholarships, awards, or bursaries that cover the same costs may not be held concurrently.

    Conclusion

    Though it is true that the Commonwealth is offering fully funded scholarships, verification has revealed that the so-called website open for registration is a click bait and the  message is misleading.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with JAY 101.9 FM Jos to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country

  • False! Atiku Abubakar not giving empowerment grants as claimed in viral WhatsApp message

    Claim: A message circulating on WhatsApp is asking Nigerians to apply for the Atiku Abubakar Empowerment Grant of N10,150 support fund via a website.

    Findings have shown that the  message circulating on WhatsApp, asking Nigerians to apply for the Atiku Abubakar Empowerment Grant  of N10,150 support fund via a website, is a click bait and fraudulent.

    Full Story

    A viral message is making the rounds on WhatsApp, urging Nigerians to apply for the  N10,150 support fund courtesy of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.

    The message directed readers to a free URL shortener, bit.ly.

    The message reads: *ATIKU Empowerment 2021*

    *Hurry Now and Check if You are Eligible to Receive N10,150 Support Fund As Part Of ATIKU Empowerment Grant.*

    _This Grant Is Available To All Nigerians_ 

    _Apply Here_

    bit.ly/ATIKU-YOUTH-EMPOWERMENT”

    Screenshot of  Post

    Verification

    First of all, the message contained grammatical errors and  irregular capitalisation of certain letters that cast doubts on its authenticity.

    Dubawa provided a wrong name, state, gmail, phone number in order to access the other pages of the form and it redirected this reporter to a new page.

    The second page reads: “Congratulations

    You have been selected to benefit from the support Fund Payment provided by ATIKU FOUNDATION. [1] [1] Answer the following three questions to benefit immediately!

    What is your Employment Status?

    What Is Your Marital Status?

    Choose Your Age Range?” 

    Screenshots of website

    This reporter was thereafter asked to share the information with 15 friends or five groups in order to get the application letter, and under the message beneficiaries were seen testifying on how real the project is.

    The notification reads: “After considering your answers, your support fund amount is set to N100,000 and complete the steps to obtain the withdrawal code from the electronic counter

    -You may get the support fund with only one step, kindly click the “Invite Friends/Group” button below to share this information with 15 friends or 5 groups on WhatsApp so That They Can Also Benefit.

    Share it until the blue bar is full!

    -After sending the invitation, click the “Get withdrawal code” button:

    Note: If you do not complete this step correctly, you will not get the Support Fund every Week.”

    A screenshot of the page asking users to share information

    An analysis with Domainbigdata, a web tool used to look for the website ownership, revealed that the website has hidden information and the IP address also shows it has been reported several times for abuses, fraud, and attacks.

    Screenshot of Domainbigdata result

    Dubawa also observed that every visit to the website during this search in the last few days, there was a banner reading “This Offer Is Available Till 30th AUGUST 2021 So Far, 113624 Nigerians Have Benefited From This Offer. You Can Also Benefit. Apply Now and Follow Instructions”,  while the countdown was reading, creating a sense of urgency.

    Screenshot of warning banner

    So Dubawa conducted a word search on the Atiku empowerment, and it shows that the former Nigeria’s vice president Atiku Abubakar  has dissociated himself from the Atiku Foundation Youth Empowerment Fund, thereby urging Nigerians to disregard any fraudulent message from the platform.

    Atiku debunked the claim through his spokesperson, Paul Ibe, on the Atiku Care Foundation – Legal Department page on Facebook, on the 13th of July.

    In his words “We warn supporters of Atiku Abubakar and the general public not to patronize any portal called Atiku Foundation for Youth Empowerment.”

    Since Dubawa has fact checked several websites with similar profile, Dubawa decided to consult a techie, the founder, Zhibodigital Web Solutions, Joey Shekwonuzhibo,  to understand the reappearance of the website  in different forms, who said that URL shortener is used to make the address of a web shorter, examples are: (bit.ly, tinyURL, bl.ink, short.io, shorby, sniply) and the likes.

    “These links that are shortened could be misleading and if you’re not careful, you’d fall prey, sometimes, people use it for click bait, but it can be used for data analysis, on any of the link shortener sites, they give you analytics of how many people clicked, their devices, location, gage range all” Shekwonuzhibo added

    He went on to advise the public to use a website checker, Google or random word search to verify credible websites.

    Conclusion

    Verification has shown that the  message circulating on WhatsApp, asking Nigerians to apply for the Atiku Abubakar empowerment grant  of N10,150 support fund, via a website is fraudulent and misleading.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with JAY 101.9 FM Jos to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country

  • Fraudulent scheme, Access Capital Investment Company, promises double returns on investment

    Claim:  A viral message on WhatsApp purportedly originating from an investment company, claims to offer double return on investments.

    Findings have revealed that the scheme is fraudulent and the so-called company is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

    Full Text

    A message has been making the rounds on WhatsApp,  urging Nigerians to join Access Capital Investment Group to enjoy double return on investments.

    The message which appears in different Whatsapp groups promises a return of N20, 000 for a N10, 000 investment, N40, 000 for a N20, 000 up till N1 million for a N500, 000 investment.

    A name and number was also posted in case an intending investor wants more information.

    Screenshot of Messages

    In order to propagate the message, Dubawa discovered that the fraudsters are in the habit of  first  hacking a trusted account, in order to reach the account owners’ audience.

    In this case, after this writer received the message in one of the groups she belongs to around 1:58 p.m., the victim  followed with a disclaimer,  in one of the platforms with a different number, one hour later asking group members to disregard any fraudulent message, because his WhatsApp number had been hacked.

    Screenshot of the First message

    Disclaimer by Azi

    Curious to know about this Scam, Dubawa joined the groups, but the instruction “only admins can send messages” first caught this writer’s attention.

    Screenshot of the first group

    Bursting the fraudster

    Soon after joining, I received a message from an unknown number(+234 706 750 4886), at 2: 59pm which sent me testimonial videos, and a proposal that I will get paid for referring others to the group and also get paid for saving money on the platform. I was also promised a percentage of returns as my principal investment will still be safe. So, I registered with fake details.

    Immediately a number called me, around 3: 41pm, to confirm my account details,  and I noticed that Truecaller tagged the caller “scammer”

    After the  conversation with the caller, I got a congratulatory message on WhatsApp, that read’s ” YOUR SUBMISSION HAS BEEN RECEIVED SUCCESSFULLY

    PAYMENT IS TO BE MADE IMMEDIATELY YOUR REGISTRATION IS SUCCESSFUL FOR YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR PAYMENT AT THE DURATION TIME OF 45 MINUTES

    NOTE !!!

    IF YOUR PAYMENT IS SUCCESSFUL KINDLY PROVIDE THE PROOF OF YOUR PAYMENT TO THE SUPERIOR OF THE PLATFORM FOR THE CONFIRMATION OF YOUR PAYMENT”

    Verification with Truecaller

    I decided to verify the caller’s identity on Truecaller.

    I also verified the Account details, by the so called company:

    ACCESS CAPITAL INVESTMENT ACCOUNT DETAILS

    ACC NAME: FET DAVID

    ACC NO: 3177496762 

    BANK NAME: FIRST BANK”

    Then I discovered that the account name does not correspond with the company Name, since every registered company carries the company details.

    I went further to confirm the company registration on Corporate Affairs Commission but It was not found.

    I also ran a word search, and I found a warning that read’s ” Pls Don’t Get Involved With Access Capital Investment. They Scammed Me Yesterday”

    Tips to avoid being conned

    As outlined by Federal Trade Commission:

    • Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
    • Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
    • Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication, it makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.

    Conclusion

    Verification has revealed that the offer by Access Capital Investment Company to offer double return on investments is fraudulent and the company is not recognised by  Corporate Affairs Commission

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with JAY 101.9 FM Jos to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country

  • CAC not offering free online registration as claimed in viral message

    Claim:  A viral WhatsApp message urges Nigerians to take part in free Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) company registration online with benefits attached.

    The claim that the Federal Government is doing free online CAC company registration with benefits is false and misleading.

    Full Text

    Mischievous elements have continued to prey on citizens’ desires for freebies deceiving them that the CAC is giving out catchy and mouth-watering benefits to lure people to click a link to enable them to enjoy such freebies.

    A viral WhatsApp message urges Nigerians to apply for the free CAC registration online with the benefits of 50,000 and others attached.

    Screenshot of the WhatsApp message

    FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS APPROVED All SELF EMPLOYED AND BUSINESS OWNERS TO CARRY OUT THEIR C.A.C (CORPORATE AFFAIR COMMISSION) REGISTRATION ONLINE FREE OF CHARGE

    BENEFITS OF C.A.Cs are

    -Free N50,000 cash from FG

    -Certificate of Incorporation

    -Legal Liability Protection

    -Free International Trade

    -Continuity

    -Free Trip to UK

    -Reputation With Customers

    -Getting on FG Record.

    ENROL NOW

    https://bit.ly/Free_CAC_Registration

    However, this is not the first time such false claims of freebies by government institutions will emanate in public platforms. Similar claims have been fact checked and were disproved by Dubawa.

    Verification

    When Dubawa accessed the link,  the logo on the page was similar to the logo on the page of the CAC but it was noticed that the logo is faint in colouration while the one on the original website is bold.

    See below the picture of the Logo…

    Upon clicking on an icon, the page directed to another where bio data and name of company to be registered was displayed

    The next page returns the message, ‘congratulations your CAC certificate will be ready shortly.’ 

    The next stage on the application has pictures of beneficiaries without any information on how to contact them to assert if the claim of their benefit was genuine.  After this comes the last page which reads “cac-registration.get-fundz.xyzsays..Thank you for your comment. It will be posted after review.”

    This is the last message that appear, then applicants are asked to share to different groups they belong. 

    Dubawa checked the official website of CAC, disclaimer page and the commission’s social media handles to see if  it was posted on the page but it was not there.

    Dubawa also made a call to the customer care service of CAC to inquire about the claim; the respondent said it was false.

    Furthermore, Dubawa used the google search to see if media platforms published information on the freebies but no such report was found.

    Conclusion

    The claim that the Federal Government is doing free online CAC company registration with benefits is false and misleading.

    The fact check was produced per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame Karikari Fellowship partnership with the National Orientation Agency NOA to facilitate the ethos of the “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy.

  • The Viral American Visa Lottery Registration Form Is A Scam, DV Lottery Form Is Currently Closed

    Claim: Viral WhatsApp messages claim “American Visa Lottery Online Registration 2021 Now Open”.

    There is no US Visa Lottery registration process going on at the moment.

    Full Text

    Social Media platforms with special reference to WhatsApp have seen the vigorous circulation of a claim that the American Visa lottery registration process for 2021 is ongoing. The caption claiming that the registration process is now open comes along with captivating and enticing messages asking people to take advantage of the chance to live in the United States by clicking the link attached to the message and standing a chance to earn a United States Green Card which offers endless opportunities if lucky enough to win one.

    The message has been consistently shared on WhatsApp groups and as compelling as the United States Electronic diversity Visa program may be to a large number of people, the message of American Visa Lottery registration has been forwarded to groups several times and people have manifested interest to apply for it on some WhatsApp groups.

    Verification

    In verifying the claim, we noticed, first, that the very link attached to the message asking people to click it and register could not pass Dubawa’s website test approach. With some people having already clicked the attached link and complaining they could not find what they were looking for, we adopted the ScamDoc platform that analyzes websites to check whether they are legit or not.

    Scam Doc maintained from its analysis that the domain of the links for registration needs some more investigation done on it. The link after being clicked will take you to the section that seeks personal information. The possible end result will be to ask you to share multiple times to various WhatsApp groups to stand a chance of winning. 

    The US Diversity Visa Program is not an automatic selection process that assures a GreenCard by simply forwarding messages to groups, there are set criteria.

    Secondly, apart from the very lucid red flags on the domain link, Dubawa did some checks on the social media handles of the United State Embassy and the body in charge of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program under the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. What was noticeably glaring is that the United State DV program has specific timelines as to when application resumes and closes. Based on data gathered from the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs website on the last registration process which took place in 2020, it is boldly stated that “The DV-2022 Diversity Visa program registration period was between October 7, 2020 and November 10, 2020.” The information on the website further states that “Since 1994 the DV program has already been executed three times in February, once in November and several times in October”.  Whilst we acknowledge that there could be possible changes to timelines, we can authoritatively state that such changes have not occurred at this particular time as the 2021 and 2022 registration processes have been closed as stated on the Website.

    Lastly, Dubawa checked the United States Embassy Twitter and Facebook pages in Sierra Leone as they are known for informing the public on the start of registration and guiding people through the process. The registration process maintains a two years interval wherein applications for 2021 lottery can be done in 2019 and 2022 done in 2020 as can be found on the website. So what is expected to start in October 2021 is for the 2023 lottery process. The deadline for the 2021 process had elapsed long ago and what is going on right now is Status check.

    Further, the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs has warned prospective applicants to be mindful of such scams.

    Conclusion

    The viral message claiming that there is an ongoing American Visa Lottery is false. What the Bureau of Consular Affairs presents yearly is the US Diversity Visa Lottery and it is a process that spans from October to November, not an America Visa Lottery. 

  • Nigerian Government not distributing ₦200,000 grants to support businesses

    Claim: A viral WhatsApp message asks Nigerians to apply for a ₦200,000 business grant from the Federal Government, which will be paid into their bank accounts within 48 hours.

    This message is false and misleading. The Federal Government is not paying ₦200,000 into the account of Nigerians as business grants.

    Full Text

    Mischievous elements have continued to prey on people’s desires for freebies by deceiving them that the federal government is distributing palliatives to citizens, providing endowments to youths, or giving grants to small scale business owners.

    A viral WhatsApp message early June, 2021 asks Nigerians “not to miss this ₦200,000 grant” the Federal Government is giving to citizens, it urges recipients to apply and assures them their bank accounts would be credited with the said amount “WITHIN 48 HOURS”.

    Screenshot of the WhatsApp message: 

    This is not the first time that Dubawa will be investigating false claims about the Federal Government, its institutions, or notable Nigerians giving grants to citizens. For example, there was a claim in November, 2020 that the federal government was giving out 3 million naira grants to support Nigerians, which Dubawa verified to be false. In February, 2021, Dubawa also proved that Dangote was not offering empowerment grants to members of the public while on June 1, 2021, Dubawa disproved the claims that Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) was offering Nigerian students ₦20,000 grants.

    Verification

    To assure citizens that this claim is genuine and deserves their attention, Dubawa clicked on the application link in the message. The bit.ly link changed to another website, which welcomes applicants, assuring them that they are just 30 seconds away from getting their “₦200,000 Africa Business grant disbursed!” We noted that the title of the grant has suddenly changed from “Federal Government grant” to “Africa Business grant” without stating which African country’s government and/or institution would be disbursing the money. There is also an icon that applicants can also click to check the status of their applications.

    Applicants are expected to key in their first name, surname, gender, email address, mobile telephone number, and country of origin. This writer notes that even though the title of the fund was initially Nigerian and then later changed to African, a list of almost all countries of the world popped up when this writer tried to key in her country of origin.

    Applicants are also expected to select ‘Fund Type’ and there is a ‘Grant’ option as well as a ‘Loan’ option, even though the call was for a grant.

    Image of the welcome page on the site:

    This writer filled in fake bio-details to be able to proceed and when she clicked submit, a new page which required her to enter her bank account number, bank name and account name came up. Again, she proceeded to fill in fake details in order to proceed. She finally submitted the application. 

    Image of application page requesting bank details:

    Thereafter, a congratulatory message appeared, informing her that her application had been received and she had been assigned a ‘GRANT MANAGER’ who would manage her request. She was encouraged to inform friends about the opportunity.

    Image of the congratulatory page:

    When she tried to click on the ‘SHOW MY GRANT MANAGER’ link without sharing the link to friends and WhatsApp groups, a message popped up informing her that she had not shared the message and that she needed to share it to a “Minimum 15 group or 15 friends” before completing the application.

    Image urging applicants to share link:

    Who is updateinnigeria.com?

    Dubawa further investigated the website making the ‘₦200,000 Federal Government’ claim using Domainbigdata and discovered that the website was just recently registered on May 25, 2021 for an initial period of one year and the site expires on May 25, 2022.

    Information about updateinnigeria.com from Domainbigdata:

    Dnslytics, a tool used in accessing details of websites, showed that updateinnigeria.com is not listed in the top million list of Alexa nor in the DMOZ directory.

    Information about updateinnigeria.com from Dnslytics:

    Whois.com, a tool for domain name search, also notes that the website is hosted on ns1.contabo.net, ns2.contabo.net and ns3.contabo.net servers in Nigeria and the email address of the registrant is [email protected]

    Information about updateinnigeria from Whois.com:

    Dubawa also searched Nigeria’s federal government social media handles and did not see any information about a ₦200,000 grant for businesses.

    Conclusion

    The claim by updateinnigeria.com that the federal government is giving out ₦200,000 grant to businesses is false. None of the nation’s public information platforms has mentioned anything about this offer.

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