A number  whose identity could not be tracked is sending congratulatory messages to hundreds of vulnerable Nigerians deceiving them to have won a COVID-19 grant of a certain amount; but the whole process is a scam, WikkiTimes can report.
“Congratulations! You have received #85,000 naira from the FGN Covid19 survival funds for payment call Mr. John Nom-jaki (09169713301) (07062299664).”
This was the congratulatory message sent to Usman Babaji, a reporter with WikkiTimes.
Precisely 45 minutes later, Babaji received a similar message with the naira sign ‘#’ omitted. Therein, he was asked to call Bitrus Sam Bello with the same number attached to Nom-jaki’s name in the first text. However, the order of the contacts was changed.
On Tuesday, the journalist decided to call one of the phone numbers (09169713301) and the responder told him to send his account details but he refused.
“Okay, it’s for covid19 survival fund, because during covid19 many people lost their jobs, and some lost their lives, that’s why the federal government is compensating the victims with N85,000,” said the responder. “Just send the account number to me.”
While the source of the message could not be traced, Truecaller identifies the other numbers assigned to Bello and Nom-jik as: ‘Scammer’ and John Bello.
Further details showed that Bello lives at Plot 217 North coast Pit bmp ship SVC 217 Lagos, Lagos State. However, Google Maps could not trace the address.
Meanwhile, Bello is a seasoned scammer, comments under his contact profile proved this.
On October 25, 2021, one Chikezie Obingonye commented on Bello’s profile saying: “fake bank representative, claims to be calling from the bank.”
About six months later, Adayi Emmanuel on February 03 2022, urged that Bello be tracked. “Please do track this phone number he is a thief.”
Another potential prey, Nura Mohammed on May 30, 2022, commented under Bello’s profile that he called him the previous day and requested details of his Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card.
Banking and online account scams have become rampant in the country as many Nigerians get swindled daily. Often, the scammers disguise themselves as agents of a reputable organisation and attempt to get access to the sensitive information of the victim’s bank account.