Identity theft is a form of crime in which an imposter obtains someone’s vital personal information such as Identity cards, financial details etc. in order to impersonate them to commit a crime, gain illegal financial advantage or some other benefits.
How this scam works
Criminals have devised different ways of stealing people’s personal information either by tricking you into handling over your details to them through Phishing, or by gaining access to your computers, mobile devices or networks by exploiting security weaknesses through Hacking.
- You receive an email, text or a phone call from a stranger asking you to ‘validate’ or ‘confirm’ your personal details by clicking on a link or opening an attachment. The message often contains grammatical errors and is poorly written.
- You receive a phone call from an unknown number asking you to provide your financial details for bank account updates.
- You are unable to log into your social media or email account, or your profile has been logged into from an unusual location.
- There are unexpected pop-ups on your computer or mobile device asking if you want to allow software to run.
- You receive bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you didn’t purchase yourself.
How to protect yourself
- Do NOT open suspicious texts or emails – delete them.
- When you receive a mail, always make sure to verify the email account before supplying whatever details you’re asked. Scammers often create email accounts very similar to the one they claim to be: For example, a scammer can create an email account like firstname.lastname@example.org (NOTE the double N (diamonnd) in the spelling of diamond. which looks like email@example.com
- Do NOT give your BVN to anyone who calls you asking you to update your personal details as the CBN will not contact you directly for such purposes.
- Do NOT give out your internet banking username & password to anyone over the phone, email or text message, as your bank staff will NOT ask for them.
- Verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organization directly. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
- Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess (for example: P@$$word123, mix upper and lowercase characters, alphanumeric characters), and update them regularly. Don't use the same password for every account, and don't share them with anyone.
- Secure your networks and devices with anti-virus software and a good firewall. Avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots to access or provide personal information.
- Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.
- When making online payments, only pay for items using a secure payment service—look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol, or a payment provider such as Paystack, Interswitch, PayPal etc.
- Shred or destroy any documents containing personal information before disposing of them.
Have you been scammed?
If you think you have provided your account details, passport, license, Medicare or other personal identification details to a scammer, contact your bank, financial institution, or other relevant agencies IMMEDIATELY.
We encourage you to report scams to us via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.
We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.
Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.