Have you ever received a message from any of your contacts that reads something like this; “Hello, I’m having trouble and asked WhatsApp to send you my sms code”?
Well, if you have received such from a friend, his/her line had most likely been hacked, and the hackers were trying to do same to yours.
A recent research conducted in Australia showed that in 2019 alone, Australians have lost almost $90 million. The figures rose by 62% during the period the COVID-19 lockdown lasted, with one in every 6 social media user falling victim.
According to the research conducted by software security provider, NortonLifeLock, this was common across WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram, getting even more young people who considered themselves too smart to be scanned.
How is this possible?
WhatsApp is a messaging application linked to your mobile phone number. The app is designed to be used on one device at a time, with an advanced end-to-end encryption that only allows sender and receiver to see the messages.
Any attempt to log in from another device requires a 6-digit verification code that only the owner of the sim card has access to.
When the hacker tries to access your WhatsApp account from another device, the app prompts for the 6-digit verification code.
Now, this is where you have to be alert. The hackers will try to get the six-digit verification code by any means.
They could claim to be calling for any reason, and then request the code to verify that you really own the sim card. Or they could claim that you are the beneficiary of some windfall, and they need the code to confirm.
The sad part of it is that as soon as you fall victim, all your contacts become potential victims as well, because they now utilise the access to send a WhatsApp message to them.
The message could also be asking them for their verification code, personal or financial details, or it could start out as romance or online dating where the victim is roped into believing that he is in some sort of romantic tryst.
Worse still ask them to make payment for some product or service they would never receive, or offer juicy deals where they claim to double the victim’s supposed investment.
Quick tip here; Never make payment, or give out a loan to any contact based on a WhatsApp message. No matter how stranded the person claims to be; insist on a voice or video call before sending money into any account.
Personal details, pins and codes should be a no-no. Any verification code, token or pin sent to your sim card is not meant to be divulged to anyone else. Giving it out allows the hackers to impersonate you.
So what if you discover you have been deceived into giving out your details?
Quickly try to change your passwords and deactivate all online transactions on your accounts. If you can reach your bank, place a hold on transactions of any kind and freeze your cards. This authorises your bank to disregard any request to move out funds from your account, until you say otherwise.
This can only work if you discover really fast, but as advised, it is a situation best avoided.
What to look out for?
According to Cybersecurity expert Mark Gorrie, the first red flag to look out for is “spelling mistakes or poor grammar”. Fortunately, the scammers are not that ‘smart’ and they make errors which they keep sending to their potential victims repeatedly.
Once you find that your contact (friend or client) is sending you a message containing spelling errors, don’t ignore it. Place a call across and find out what is going on. Scammers almost never take such calls and if they do, you will figure out that you have the wrong person.
Another thing to beware of is generic greetings or URLs that don’t match the company in the message. Often, such urls could take you to sites where you are then asked to fill in personal and sensitive data.
Importantly, if the offer looks too good to be true, it most likely is.
Nigeria: SERAP Threatens to Drag Buhari to Court Over Attack On Peter Obi in Katsina
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari administration to promptly investigate the reported attacks on the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, or face a legal battle.
SERAP issued this warning to the government in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement said, “We’ll take legal action if the perpetrators are not immediately arrested and prosecuted.”
Meanwhile, the presidential campaign council of the Labour Party reported that the convoy of Obi was attacked two times in Katsina State on Monday.
A spokesperson for Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign Council Diran Onifade said Obi was attacked by hoodlums on his way to the airport after his rally in Katsina.
According to Onifade, some yet-to-be-identified hoodlums hurled heavy stones at the driver’s side of Obi’s vehicle on his way to the airport.
He said the stone caused heavy damage to the vehicle, though Obi and those in the car with him escaped without sustaining injuries.
The spokesperson added that another set of hoodlums had earlier attacked the campaign convoy with stones in front of the Katsina stadium.
He said the attack left several vehicles, including that of the official stage crew damaged.
“Our candidate had met with women in a town hall and then held a hugely successful Rally at the Muhammad Dikko Stadium.
“However, on his way to the airport, hoodlums attacked the car our candidate was riding in with heavy stones from his driver’s side causing substantial damage to the vehicle.
“To the glory of God, Mr. Obi and other occupants of the car were unhurt.
“Subsequently another set of thugs also threw stones outside the stadium which damaged several vehicles including that of our official stage crew.
“The two incidents taken together make us suspect that the attacks may have been premeditated at the behest of desperate politicians who had been deluding themselves with the false claim that they had the northwest locked up but are now shocked by the show of force of the Obidient movement in the region.
“While thanking the good people of Katsina who came out en masse to support our campaign yesterday, we call on security agencies to investigate this matter to forestall future occurrences,” the Campaign Council said.
Qatar Confirms Seizure Of 144 Fake World Cup Trophies
Authorities in Qatar have asserted that they have seized 144 counterfeit World Cup trophies following the latest raid on fakes hitting the market ahead of the football tournament that starts o November 20.
The disclosure was made on Wednesday by the interior ministry which said officers launched an operation “acting on a piece of information about a website that promotes the sale of cups that mimic the true shape of the World Cup.”
It released a photo showing the 144 life-sized trophies laid out across a floor and stated that “further legal procedures will be followed”.
The ministry did not say where the trophies were found, nor whether suspects had been detained.
Football’s governing body FIFA and Qatari authorities have stepped up warnings recently about distributing or buying World Cup fakes.
In another report, Qatari authorities had last week given a fresh directive to evict some hundreds of migrant workers from most of the buildings in central Doha which is coming on the countdown to the World Cup.
Some of the municipal workers and some security guards had reportedly moved into about 12 buildings late on Wednesday to clear and lock them, according to local residents, ahead of the tournament which would be kicking off on November 20.
The Quatari government had also revealed that the buildings were “uninhabitable”, proper notice was given, and that alternative “safe and appropriate accommodation” had been found for all evictees.
The affected area which was largely around Al-Mansoura, has been massively redeveloped in the recent years and some World Cup fans will be staying in some of the apartments in the district, where dozens of mechanical diggers are parked in the streets.
In the early hours of Saturday, Yunus, a Bangladeshi driver, slept on the back of his flat-bed truck on a street in Al Mansoura, three nights after being forced out of one block.
US Court Acquits Air Peace Boss, Fines Mayfield $4000
Nigerian Commercial airliner, Air Peace and its chairman, Allen Oyema have finally found justice after three years of intense investigations which had also involved about five agencies of the American government and the subsequent legal fireworks that had come with it.
It had been revealed that the District Court in Atlanta, Georgia had finally exonerated the Chief Executive of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema of any business fraud which he had been accused of too.
The court, which had initially discovered that there had been no loss against any bank in the indictment suit which had been filed by the Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, had however, ordered a probation and $4000 fine against a former staff of Springfield Aviation Company Inc., Ebony Mayfield on Friday.
A statement which had been made by the law firm of Augustine Alegeh & Co., counsel to the Airline had also explained that Mayfield was an administrative staff of Springfield with limited knowledge in Letter of Credit Transactions, who had also pleaded guilty to one count in the indictment, presumably as she realised the futility of attempting to explain several Letters of Credit which had been utilised for purchase of aircraft for Air Peace Limited in a jury trial.
The firm had also explained that Probation was the lowest possible sentence which had beenavailable under American Federal Law.
“Our clients never took loans or credit from any American Bank and Mayfield was never paid the sum of $20,000 at any time to commit any fraud, as it is being peddled by a section of the Nigerian Press.
“There was no loss of money or any damage whatsoever to any third party. The American government admitted in Court that no bank suffered any financial loss in the matter.
“Mayfield, like other Springfield Aviation Company Inc. staff was only paid her bi-weekly salary and/or allowances,” it clarified.
According to the firm, the decision confirmed the position of its clients that there was no fraudulent intent in all the Letters of Credit, because there was no victim in any way, manner or form.
All the funds involved, it explained, were legitimate funds belonging to its clients.
“Our clients maintain their innocence in the matter and state that all steps taken in respect of the Letters of Credit were taken in good faith and with legitimate funds.
“All the aircrafts involved were brought into Nigeria and utilised in the operations of Air Peace Limited. There was no victim. There was no loss of funds to any person and there was no criminal intent whatsoever.
“Our client’s position has been reviewed by various Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria and no evidence of criminality has been established against them. Our Clients remain resolute in the assertion of their innocence,” the firm declared.
The firm had also noted that there have been false and unsubstantiated press stories in Nigeria, about the indictment.
Behind The Oil Theft In Nigeria, Behind the Menace
Nigeria, as presently constituted, qualifies to be named a crime scene. From state-sanctioned insecurity to massive corruption, down to outright abuse of state power. It appears as though Nigeria is fast becoming a banana republic of some sort. With every passing day, a new development occurs, attempting to cement the notion that Nigeria is a criminal state where only crime and criminality thrive.
The anomalies are endless and the situation is rotten and sour.
With no big shot at redemption, Nigeria has continued to crumble, and may very soon become irredeemable.
Ironically, it took recent revelations about the grand schemes of oil theft for many Nigerians to come to the new realisation.
About a month ago, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari dropped a bombshell when he announced that the government of the day just discovered a loading port somewhere in Niger Delta that had been in operation for over nine years undetected. This loading port had a 4 km illegal pipeline connected to it that ran from Forcados in Delta State down to the sea where the cycle of economic sabotage against Nigeria is rounded up.
The recent discoveries of the magnitude of oil theft going on in Nigeria clearly underscore the fact that Nigeria is a criminal state. How can a country be so blessed yet appear so cursed? A country blessed with huge deposits of crude under its soil yet it remains home to the highest number of the poorest people. Terrible!
Given the magnitude and sophistication of the ongoing crude oil theft going on in the country, it is safe to posit that it is the biggest organised crime in the history of Nigeria as a country. This is a scheme that is perpetrated by people who fully understand that their ugly scheme is not only causing life-threatening environmental pollution, but also causing the government a massive loss in revenue at a time when every dollar is needed to keep the country’s economy above the waters. Oil companies are divesting from the country in the face of revenue losses and the country’s oil industry is now looking like a shadow of itself.
Over the past six years, Nigeria has consistently failed to meet its quota in the global oil market as capped by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), for reasons ranging from vandalism to a gargantuan scale oil theft. This has impacted government revenues in very debilitating ways. More throbbing is the fact that, at a period when many oil producing countries around the world have been reaping billions of dollars and Euros from the Russia-Ukraine windfall, Nigeria is severely handicapped.
According to industry experts, the quantity of oil stolen in the country daily is well over 100,000 barrels. With a barrel of oil selling for an average of $100 for a better part of the year, it meant an income of $10 million was being donated to oil thieves. The question on the lips of Nigerians in the face of all this is, who are those committing this economic sabotage against Nigeria?
One thing that has been severally reiterated is that oil theft at that scale cannot take place without active connivance with people who control instruments of the state, the protection of regulators in the industry, and funding by the elites. Of course, there is no way a 10,000-tonne barge will move from a point of loading in the creeks down to the sea without being detected. There is surely no way big ocean liners which are deployed to lift stolen crude oil move freely within the territorial waters of Nigeria without being noticed by the Nigerian security team who are paid using taxpayers money to keep Nigeria’s security system safe.
It is important to point out that contrary to popular misconceptions, oil theft did not start recently. Interestingly, prior to becoming President, Buhari had accused Jonathan of not doing enough to end oil theft. Buhari alleged that about 400,000 barrels of crude were stolen daily under Jonathan’s nose. Of course, he vowed to end it if Nigerians elect him as their next President, and sadly, seven years later, rather than end it, he institutionalised it and this time, Nigerians are paying a heavier price for his ineptitude as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and Minister of Petroleum. That Nigeria is still insolvent despite the scale of theft and abuse it has continued to experience should be the 8th wonder of the world.
The failure of successive governments to check this situation clearly provides an idea as to how poor governance in Nigeria has been. The reality is that currently, oil thieves have grown so powerful that they now hold the Nigerian state to ransome. The whole situation clearly underscores the embarrassing failure of the security architecture in Nigeria and how useless they have proven to be. It is curious to believe that after over two decades of disruptions in the oil and gas sector in the Nigeria Delta, the Nigerian Navy is yet to come up with a single specialised capacity to protect a sector that is primarily the source of blood to the Nigerian body. The truth remains that if this madness is allowed to continue unabated, it will bring Nigeria to its knees financially, politically and economically.
The present situation in Nigeria is not only embarrassing, but is also suffocating and stifling the hopes of over 200 million citizens who have now been turned into paupers even in the midst of plenty.
These things surely raise questions about the whole essence and existence of Nigeria because anomalies and illegalities are fast becoming the norm in the country. While the economy is on a fast lane to absolute destruction, those saddled with the responsibility of sailing the ship to safety are abdicating their responsibilities not minding the fact that the economy is gradually caving in.
What Nigerians must know right now is that their oil wealth is being stolen by a syndicate that has sworn to keep them on the ground. The group of people stealing Nigeria’s oil comprise the military, oil companies, the navy, and government officials, which is why they seem unstoppable.
The list isn’t complete without mentioning current and former governors, ministers, and members of the Fulani oligarchy. Interestingly, one of them is even running for President in 2023!
Oil theft is threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria, and Nigerians should better start speaking before it is too late.
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