Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has urged Nigerians to be vigilant and observe precautionary measures against criminal elements who might exploit the emergency situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic to increase their nefarious activities.
Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, who gave the charge yesterday in Abuja, said the “IGP’s advice is informed by intelligence at the disposal of the force which suggests that fraud and cybercrime are expected to rise at this time owing to the lockdown emplaced by government at all levels to contain the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.”
His words: “Specifically, intelligence obtained from the Interpol headquarters shows that scammers in Nigeria and other parts of the globe have begun to create and set up fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, fake social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver (COVID-19) medical products.
“In some cases, they use the names of prominent companies involved in the production and distribution of these items. Victims are then asked to pay via bank transfer.”
Mba added that the IGP had placed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Interpol, National Central Bureau (NCB), and Abuja on a red alert.
He added: “The NCB which houses the cybercrime unit of the force shall, in the coming days and beyond, work closely with other Interpol member-states across the globe particularly to carry out intense monitoring of the internet highway in the most legitimate and ethical manner.”
The spokesman further said: “This is to engender concerted efforts in cracking down on any individual or all forms of organised criminal gangs that may want to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to perpetrate crimes.
“The force also enjoins commercial bank operators to strengthen their online banking security systems and report promptly any suspected case of fraud and other cybercrime-related activities in their banks.
“While reaffirming the determination of Nigeria Police Force in providing support services to relevant agencies saddled with the task of curtailing and containing the COVID-19 pandemic, the IGP assures the public that the force is unrelenting in clamping down on criminals who may want to take advantage of the situation to perpetrate criminal acts.”