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Covid-19: IGP urges banks to strengthen online banking security

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The Inspector General (I-G) of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu has called on commercial banks to strengthen their online banking security systems and ensure prompt report of suspected cases of fraud and other cybercrime.

Adamu disclosed this in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, on Sunday in Abuja.The I-G enjoined the public to remain vigilant and take precautionary actions against criminal elements who might explore the emergency situation created by the Covid-19 to increase and diversify their criminal activities.

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He said the call followed intelligence reports  that fraud and cybercrime were expected to rise at this time owing to the lockdown emplaced by government at all levels to contain the spread of covid-19.“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.”

Such as 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 and victims are then asked to pay via bank transfer,” he said.The I-G, therefore, advised the public to avoid opening of suspicious emails and clicking on links in unrecognized emails and attachments.He urged the public to ensure proper back-up of online and offline files regularly and securely and use strong passwords for securing their emails and social media handles.

“Keep your software updated, including antivirus software and manage your social media settings and review your privacy and security settings;“You are advised to be wary of scammers who use names of prominent companies to create fraudulent websites, e-commerce platforms, social media accounts and emails claiming to sell and deliver medical products.“You are also advised to ignore and report calls purportedly emanating from a caller who pretends to be a relative currently being treated at hospital asking you to pay for the cost of the medical treatment by transferring money or by paying cash to fake public health representatives.

“Do not open letters or emails related to the pandemic from unknown persons who claim to be health authorities,” he warned.According to him, often times, criminals access sensitive information, steal personal information and steal funds of victims by tricking them into connecting to a specific webpage and logging-in with their credentials.The I-G urged the public to be mindful of fake news, deliberate misinformation and avoid circulating untrusted and unverified messages on social media handles.“Against the foregoing, the I-G has placed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja – Nigeria on red alert.

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“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.“The  idea is to carry out intense monitoring of the internet highway in the most legitimate and ethical manner.“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 to perpetrate crimes,” he added.

He pledged the commitment of the Nigeria Police to provide support services to relevant agencies saddled with the task of curtailing and containing the COVID-19 pandemic.Adamu said the force would not relent in clamping down on criminals who may want to take advantage of the situation to perpetrate crimes. (NAN)