Claim: A viral post on WhatsApp is asking Nigerians to verify their NIN-SIM status via a website.
NIN-SIM verification can only be done using accredited channels including NIMC Mobile App and website.
A viral post on WhatsApp is asking Nigerians to verify the status of their National Identity Number (NIN) linkage with their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).
This post tends to direct unsuspecting Nigerians to this website using a free URL shortener, bit.ly by creating a URL that contains certain keywords such as Nigeria, SIM and Checker.
This message was shared amidst uncertainty that greeted the directive of the Federal Government asking Nigerians to link their NIN with their SIMs or risk disconnection.
A screenshot of the forwarded-as-received message
The message titled: “CHECK IF NIN IS SUCCESSFULLY LINK TO YOUR SIM/CHECK SIM STATUS,” reads “Check if Your NIN is successfully Link to your MTN, AIRTEL, GLO AND 9MOBILE SIM to avoid being block by the Federal Government | you don’t need to go to NIMC offices to CHECK this tap link below to check | Please share this message to many groups to inform others *THANK YOU* Click http://bit.ly/Sim-Checker-Online-Nigeria.”
Checks on the message showed that it contained grammatical errors and irregular capitalisation of certain letters that cast doubts on its authenticity.
The landing page has a like, comment and share counter believed to be included as part of efforts to gain the trust of visitors.
When Dubawa ran the web address of the website through Scam Doc, a web tool that evaluates the reliability of “digital identities” (email addresses or websites), results showed that the website has a 1% trust score.
Scam Doc also revealed that the domain name is very recent (less than 6 months) and has a short life expectancy domain, adding that the domain name is linked to one or more countries known for being used by fraudulent websites.
Further checks on the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) website revealed that Nigerians have been warned not to upload their NIN on unauthorised websites and portals.
The warning titled Fraud Alert reads in part: “Do not submit your NIN or NIN to unauthorised Apps. Beware of dubious apps collecting your NIN or BVN details. Use only apps from NIMC and clearly identifiable, authorised NIMC partners.
“Beware of unauthorised apps asking for your NIN (e.g. NIN Linker). NIMC will never ask you to upload your BVN or NIN on any unauthorised portal!
“Always use the NIMC website https://www.nimc.gov.ng for valid information.
Beware of messages from people using dubious email addresses designed to resemble NIMC emails asking you to click on links to FAKE websites and upload your BVNs or NINs.
“It is SAFER to do online pre-enrolment yourself using personal computers, internet-enabled telephones and other devices, then heading to a NIMC enrolment centre near you.”
Based on the warning by NIMC and the webpage analysis done by Dubawa, verification of NIN-SIM linkage using this website is false.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.