Business

NITDA raises the alarm over online investment scam

…denies endorsement of scheme

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has raised the alarm over a new wave of online investment schemes promising huge returns with a view to scam Nigerians. This is even as the agency denied any form of endorsement of any such scheme. NITDA, in a statement signed by its Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, urged Nigerians “to disregard any fake news claiming that the Agency or its staff endorses money doubling Financial Investments scheme.”

“The Agency refutes any affiliation or endorsement of these platforms and strongly advises the general public on the need for caution when dealing with online money doubling scheme especially via WhatsApp mobile Appli-cation,” it added. Explaining the modus operandi of the scammers, NITDA said the perpetrators used social media to access the details of their victims, which are then used to defraud them. “These fraudulent financial investment companies lure users by requesting that you join their WhatsApp group, consequently, they access records of citizens’ phone numbers. These phone numbers can further be used in SMS scams as well as other various cybercrimes,” the IT regulatory agency explained.

“The general public is advised to always verify if these firms have clearance from relevant Government Agencies mandated to license Corporate Investment Advisers. The public is further advised to be wary of any quick wins schemes especially if it violates the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation. “Furthermore, NITDA strongly advises the general public to disregard the malicious investment scheme even if the people behind such purportedly use NITDA’s name, its affiliates, logo, and or staff of the agency as a bait to lure the people,” NITDA advised. Earlier this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had also warned stakeholders and the investing public against the activities of some unlawful/unlicensed market operators and promoters of other fraudulent schemes.

The apex capital market regulator in a circular to the investing public and capital market operators had advised against dealing the 12 fraudulent Ponzi scheme operators with their bogus investment and return claims. It noted: “The commission, in recent times, has observed the proliferation of the operation of unlawful/unlicensed investment schemes, with promises of huge, but unjustifiable returns on investment.’’ The SEC had pointed out that, “Members of the public are to note that by virtue of the provisions of section 39(1) of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007, only persons registered with the commission can engage in capital market activities, thus making the actions of these entities listed above unlawful.”

 

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