On Sunday, August 9, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted text messages urging Nigerians to contact a mobile number to claim their COVID-19 relief fund.
The messages claimed that the fund approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be sent to different categories of Nigerians (not clarified) at either N45,000 or N85,000 each.
According to the second message, the N45,000 relief fund will be sent through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The message read in part: “Congratulations Youth empowerment, due to covid_19 you’ve been approved to receive N85,000 from the CBN contact to claim your prize +23408038673870”.
Investigations by CDD fact-checkers show that the purported message did not emanate from the Federal Government or the CBN as claimed.
The message, clearly handiwork of fraudsters is a means used to lure people into given providing access to their bank details and other personal information.
Calls put through the mobile phone number showed that it was registered on truecaller as Felsu Azezat. Several calls made to the line was not answered or returned as at the time of publishing this fact-check.
Also, checks by the Centre show the fraudsters used different numbers to contact people with the same message and different contact numbers to reach out to for prizes listed for claims.
Further checks by the centre show that CBN has already given out loans through the right channels. The beneficiaries of these loans are agricultural loans, Micro, Small and Enterprises Development Fund (CBN MSMEDF Loan).
The claim on the allocation of a prize worth N85,000 and N45,000 by CBN is false. It is the handiwork of fraudsters.
CDD urges members of the public to remain vigilant and always verify all information before disseminating them.
You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at
+2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica.
Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa