CLAIM: The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Monday, April 20, 2020, received several WhatsApp broadcast messages containing a link to a Google Form with the title ‘Relief Disbursement Collation Form’ for verification by members of the public.
The form which bears the Federal Government of Nigeria had a deadline for Monday, April 20, 2020.
The online Google form requested applicants to fill their personal details including their residential address and bank account numbers.
Due to the lockdown, many Nigerians are currently hopeful for COVID-19 relief from the Federal Government.
CDD’s analysis shows that the high citizens’ expectation follows the disbursement of various forms of reliefs in other countries such as the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
Fact-checkers in CDD have also gathered that internet scammers use the opportunity to create various schemes, which aim to extract personal information from unsuspecting members of the public. The scammers use the identity of influential and wealthy individuals and government agencies to perfect their plan.
This is not the first time such claims on possible monetary relief has been made. Between March 25 and 28, 2020, a WhatsApp broadcast message went viral with the claim that the Federal Government was set to pay citizens N8,500 per week to sustain the stay at home directive for the containment of the Coronavirus pandemic. A similar link was created for people to register for the scheme.
In the same week, CDD fact-checked a similar false claim that a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, would disburse N10,000 weekly to Nigerians as palliative through the Atiku Foundation.
This week, another source had alleged that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo has personally decided to send N5,000 directly to every Nigerians’ account using their BVN.
All these claims which follow the same pattern have turned out to be false. The intention, CDD analysis revealed, is to collect personal data of unsuspecting members of the public which is later used for fraudulent activities.
The trending Federal Government of Nigeria Relief Disbursement Collation Form is the latest of these fraudulent schemes; it also requires applicants to fill out their personal data including Bank Verification Numbers (BVN).
Reacting to the message, a Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital & New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, cautioned the public against filling such forms. He wrote:
‘’This Relief Disbursement Collation Form being circulated is a SCAM. NEVER EVER, under any circumstances, give out your BANKING + PERSONAL details to ANY online ‘data collection’ form. Never. Don’t do it. Don’t even wonder if it’s genuine or not. Just don’t do it!’’.
The trending Federal Government of Nigeria Disbursement Form is a SCAM. No legitimate organisation will request that applicants fill their BVN and account details online.
CDD is cautioning members of the public against filling such forms or sharing them until they can verify their authenticity from relevant authorities.