Short Intro: To be a Nigerian is hard enough; apart from the ravaging poverty, a lot of factors had contributed to this. I’m aware that many youth are involved in internet fraud which gives the nation and her people a bad name. I and my family members fell victim several times to them. The aim of this blog post is to show how to avoid falling victim to internet fraud drawing from personal experiences. These internet commando’s can outsmart even the most educated or enlightened person, so underestimating their abilities will be at the concerned peril. But let it be known that the greatest fraudsters are corrupt African leaders, those who steal from their people.
My interest in internet fraud stem from my research paper I wrote on Fraud Prevention and Management in Nigerian Commercial Banks during my studies at the University of Uyo, Nigeria and my work experience as a bank teller.
Link between Bad Leadership and Nigeria’s Internet Commando’s: Before I steer forward, permit me to introduce the chief cause of Nigeria’s woe: bad leadership. I hammer on this each time I’m opportuned to write on leadership. When career or academic opportunities are lesser than employable people, social vices will increase. Generally, the African society is challenged by unemployment which pushed many to vices like robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, human trafficking and ritualism, political thuggery, drug peddling and more. Consider the wealth Nigeria possesses then you can relate that this country has no business with poverty. If the head is bad then the body won’t fare better, that’s a fact. Imagine a situation where every youth have a good job after graduation and if not has access to financial services to start their own businesses. No one will have time to involve in dubious businesses. The major problem faced in Nigeria and Africa at large is bad leadership.
How to avoid falling victim to internet fraud: If you are faced with sending or receiving money online or any kind of online money transaction, you need to pay great attention to details. This is the greatest way internet fraud are perpetrated. Most times we need to be critical to overcome these guys. Why would one be excited that an email or phone call says he won a lottery or scholarship when he didn’t even play or apply for that or someone says you’re selected for a job you knew nothing about or his/her father died and left huge pockets of money hidden somewhere for you? Let’s consider ways we can reduce this risk.
(1.) First, extra care is advised and there’s an emphasis on the extra. Don’t jump to enticing online offers which may require you to share personal information. If you trust people easily, then try to seek guidance from finance or security agencies before sharing your information with anyone. You’re not meant to share Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), Bank Account details, Passwords or Pass codes, Phone Numbers, addresses or Emails linked to financial properties etc. If your bank requires you to send special details, they can always ask you to visit their nearest branch. Generally banks won’t ask for more details online. Note that banks will normally communicate via custom email. For instance email@example.com can’t just be trusted as a bank staff. Banks will rather contact with such emails as firstname.lastname@example.org.
(2.) Don’t click on links that you are unsure of. I received an email sometime ago: that I won an award from the Association of Nigerian Authors and I should click a link and update my details. I believed it and I was very happy. I didn’t think about being a member, I was just consumed with the award. I eventually updated my details on the link and afterwards couldn’t access my email anymore. I had to reach out to the President of the Association who luckily happened to be my social media friend and he confirmed it was a hoax! Scammers do research on their potential victims and may know what you do and what excites you! After much inconvenience contacting Google I was able to reclaim my email and thankfully I had no financial details linked to the email.
(3.) Reconsider buying from unknown online stores. May talk more about this later.
Where to report to: In cases involving Nigerians or West Africans, you can report to the Interpol but to expedite local action send reports to the following agencies. They are fast and furious in tracking down bad eggs.
– Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital. Address: Plot 301/302 Institution and Research, Cadastral District, Jabi, Abuja, Nigeria. Www.efccnigeria.org
– Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), based in Abuja. Address: Plot 802 Constitution Avenue, Central Business District, Abuja, Nigeria. Www.icpc.gov.ng
A Shorter End: I’m a Nigerian and I love my country. Not all Nigerians are scammers, I’m sure you know many who are not. The same goes for other African countries and around the world. I believe in African youth and their potentials. Talents abound but lay waste or ingenuity used in bad ways, no thanks to bad leaders. In my humble opinion, to get to the root of internet fraud and other social vices, our leaders should be held accountable for not providing welfare and opportunities for youth.