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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Being a victim of a scam is never a pleasant experience.

I have investigated numerous fake, fraudulent  or phishing websites, and they usually have a number of common traits to look for. Here are some easy steps on how to determine if a website is a fake, fraud, or scam:
  1. The Domain Name – A lot of fraudulent websites will use a domain name similar to a brand name. I have seen fake sites related to MTN, Aliexpress, Calvin Klein, Nike, Buffalo, and more. These domain names might be www.nikesuperdiscounts or www.buffalocollection or www.salomonshop (these are not real sites, but examples). If a company has a trademark on their name, their website usually matches the company name.
  2. No Contact Information – If the website does not have a contact us page, or it if does and it only offers a form to fill out, this is a strong indicator of fraud. Any company offering products or services, should have a place of business (location) as well as a phone number and email to contact them. If none of this information is available, then they likely just want your credit card info. Here is an example I found from a fake website that does not have any contact details.Contact Page without contact details
  3. Check the Grammar and Spelling – If the fake website is attempting to present itself as an American or Canadian business, they will usually use English text. However, there will quite often be horrible grammar and spelling mistakes on the website. Many of these mistakes would be obvious to a native speaker of English; excessive use of poor grammar and spelling should be an instant red flag.
  4. Check the WHOIS – Do a domain WHOIS lookup to see who owns the domain. The result will tell you the registrar (company that the domain was purchased through), when it was created, when it expires as well as contact details. Although the fraudulent website did not tell me their contact details on the website; using the Webnames WHOIS lookup, I was able to confirm that the domain was owned by a company in China, not the running shoe company located in the U.S. Another key observation to look for is how long the domain has existed. If it has been active for less than a year, then it is most likely a scam website. In the case of my example below, this fake site was setup less than four days ago and I was directed to it through a Facebook ad two days ago.WHOIS Domain Result
  5. Test the Contact Information – If the website does list contact information, call, write or email the site, using their contact details, to check if it works. If you get an automatic voice messaging system, the number is not in service, or no one answers during business hours, then exercise caution.
  6. Check if the Login, Create Account, and Payment Pages are Secure – Many fake or fraudulent sites will not bother to buy an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. SSL certificates secure the transfer of your data when you submit sensitive information (creating an account, or submitting payment info) and cost money. A scam site, quite often, won’t bother with an SSL certificate, as the site will likely be shutdown within a couple months after the fraud has been reported. If the website is legitimate and secure, like Webnames, they will have HTTPS on the URL and a lock is safe and secure
  7. Check the Shipping and Return Policy – If the website is selling a product over the internet, they will have a shipping and return policy listed on their site. If it is a real company, they should tell you how and where to return a defective product. If they are shipping a product, they should give you an idea how long it will take to arrive. If they have no return address and a vague shipping policy, do not shop at that website.
  8. Check the Domain Name in Google – If you type the domain name into Google, if it is a real site, there should be links to that website from other websites. If only the domain comes up and no other search result appears for that domain name, then it is very suspicious.
  9. Check Other People’s Reviews – Type the website’s domain name, followed by “reviews”, into a search engine. Ideally, you will discover search results for other people’s experiences in dealing with the website. If there are many negative negative customer reviews, then you will most likely want to avoid the site altogether.
Being a victim of a scam is never a pleasant experience. Follow these simple guidelines to protect yourself online and create the best possible shopping experience. If the site you’re viewing feels suspicious, take a moment to research and investigate it before making a purchasing decision.

Friday, 1 February 2013

AGF files charges against Farouk Lawan

Abuja - Attorney General of the Federation has filed charges against a rep, Farouk Lawan and a House 
committee secretary, Boniface Emenalo.

Farouk Lawan blew the lid on a $6.8 billion scam in a state fuel subsidy, exposing a web of fraudulent transactions that enabled corrupt officials and fuel marketers to grow rich, often without delivering a drop of fuel.

He pleaded not guilty in court on Friday to four counts of bribery brought against him by the federal government and his supporters say he is being targeted by those implicated in his investigation.

Africa's largest crude exporter has to import 80 percent of its fuel needs because its refineries are in disrepair. The government pays a subsidy on the fuel, which breeds corruption and is the single biggest drain of the federal budget.

Lawan's arrest risks discrediting his findings, although two subsequent independent probes have come to similar conclusions.

He is accused of taking $500,000 - part of an agreed $3 million bribe - from Femi Otedola, one of Nigeria's richest men, to keep his oil firm Zenon Petroleum out of his report.

"You Farouk Lawan ... in the course of your official duty corruptly asked for the sum of $3 million for yourself from Femi Otedola ... to afterwards show favor to Femi Otedola," charges read in the Abuja High Court said.

The judge ordered that Lawan be remanded in police custody until a bail hearing on February 8.

Another member of Lawan's parliamentary fuel subsidy committee, Emenalo Boniface, is charged on three counts for also demanding the bribe from Otedola, who will not face prosecution because he told the authorities about the deal.

Lawan's supporters say this is evidence he was a set up by President Goodluck Jonathan's administration, in collusion with Otedola, because they were embarrassed by his findings.

Lawan's lawyer said last year that the case was a conspiracy brought by fraudulent oil marketers and powerful government officials who wanted his report discredited. He said Lawan accepted the bribe only to expose Otedola, saying he disclosed the payment to parliament and left the cash there.

If Lawan is found guilty it could end any attempt to seek justice in the subsidy scandal, an outcome likely to please Nigeria's powerful oil marketers and some corrupt government officials, but enrage the public.

The report fingered several fuel companies, including a local unit of ExxonMobil, as being involved and called for the board of the state oil firm, including its head Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, to resign.

Lawan's report was scathing about some of Nigeria's most powerful people - few would dare take on the oil minister - and was an embarrassment to Jonathan, whose office pledged to prosecute those implicated but urged patience.

The world's most popular video site has confirmed it is considering the introduction of subscriptions for premium content.
According to a report that first appeared in AdAge, YouTube could start charging users up to $5 a month to access some of the site's most popular channels. 

Initially 25 premium channels would be introduced, as early as this spring, and the site is also considering charging for access to live events and content libraries. 

When asked by paidcontent if the reports were true, a YouTube spokesperson said: "We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models. The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we're looking at that."

Subscriptions could be key in attracting new channels to YouTube and in providing opportunities, other than through advertising, for content creators to earn money. Korean popstar Psy's "Gangnam Style" video earned $8 million from advertising, but the video, the most popular in YouTube's eight-year history, has been viewed 1 billion times. Therefore, it only earned .8 cents per view.

The world’s least corrupt nations

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand are leaders when it comes to the world’s least corrupt countries, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012. The Corruption Perceptions Index is presented on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
India secures the 94th position in the index with a score of 36.

EFCC arrests 20 internet fraudsters in Benin.

Press statement from EFCC...
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested twenty suspected internet fraudsters. The arrest which was carried out in a joint operation with officers of the 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin, followed intelligence report on their activities. They were nabbed in a surprise raid on their Cyber office tucked in an old building located on Siluko Road, Benin City.
At the point of arrest, the fraudsters had in their possession forty five (45) laptops of different make, twenty eight (28) telephone sets, eight (cool internet mobile modems and one Nissan car with registration number USL 375 AG.

The suspected fraudsters who are mostly in their twenties includes: Idehen Obabueki, Adesa Lucky, Usuagu Uche, Eloghosa Olikiabor, Larry Edomwonyi, Amowie Maike, Francis Ezegbede, Itua Samuel and Endurance John Egbeifo. Others are Amego Ovenseri, Iyen Ighodaro, Philip Agbodori, Lucky Robinson, Nnadi Obinna, Osabuohien Osahon, Chinenu Eze, Peter Sunday, Solomon Ogu, Niyi Femi and Osagie Aghedo.

The suspects have made useful statements. Most of them confessed to be engaged in online dating of foreigners particularly widows. They also confessed to using different pseudo names and faces to deceive their prospective victims. They will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded. 

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity

Nigeria Customs 2013 Recruitment Scam: "" is Scam Beware!

Recently the Nigeria Customs Service announced that it has uncovered the activities of an illegal syndicate involved in the last recruitment exercise carried out by the service earlier this year. The discovery was made during a routine documentation exercise for newly recruited Officers conducted at the Customs Training College Ikeja. 44 officers were found to have found their way into the college through the back door.

Further investigations into the saga however pointed to the direction of some insiders who provided soft ground for the illegal recruitment. 5 serving officers were rounded up for their active participation in the scam which involved extortion of various sums of money from prospective applicants and forgery of documents. The officers all serving at the Customs headquarters were subsequently handed over to the Economic and Financial Commission for further actions.

Rather than dampening the spirit of the scammers, the exposure of their collaborators within seems to have made them go all out in their illegalities. Recently, one of such groups went back to the drawing board to perfect yet another strategy to dupe desperate work seekers, using numerous opportunities provided by the internet. Despite the fact the Service had concluded its recruitment exercise and even concluded training for the first batch of junior officers, the scammers are still busy soliciting applications from job seekers.

To give good effect to their project, the scammers went hi-tech to host their own version of the Nigeria Customs Service on the internet. Using the URL address,, a clever attempt was made to clone the official website of the service.

The websites of Government agencies are hosted on a dedicated dot gov dot ng domain. The correct website is therefore hosted on the URL However, the scammers did a good job of imitation, practically cloning the home page with similar features of layout and colour mix. The official portrait of the Comptroller-general of customs, complete with the welcome message on the official site were copied and reproduced on the fake site. 

See the fake or cloned Nigeria Customs website below:

The fundamental differences were in the sub- menu displayed on the home page. While the official site has 10 sub- menus, each with additional drop down menus, the fake site has only 6 sub menus without the drop down option. 

See the original Nigeria Customs website below:
The menus give a clear direction to their illegal objectives. They include Home, Recruitment List that contains no name, and Auction of Cars and containers, where photographs of exotic cars and laden containers purportedly up for Customs sales were display. Other sub menus are for names shortlisted, containing names suspected to be fake, application form and NCS contact.
Since the recruitment exercise was concluded, The Service has been inundated with requests by numerous applicants seeking to clarify the authenticity of some information sourced online purporting to offer job placement in Customs. They complained that they were often lured into paying various sums of money to get application forms downloaded before the job offers.

In one of such instances, a man now on the run used the website address www. advertised job placement opportunities for desperate applicants. The scammer who also posed as recruitment officer for other agencies of Government advertised the phone number 07085691370. When Customs-duty called the number, posing as an applicant, the male respondent calmly gave the assurance of placement if a certain amount of money was paid for the forms.

The service has intensified its campaign to alert members of the public on the activities of these fraudsters, warning that their tools have now been expanded to include the use of newspaper publications, facebook and other social media driven by the Internet. 

Members of the public are advised to beware of their antics and report anybody who solicits money to get recruited into customs or get allocation of auction.

Culled from: The PR Unit

Customs Headquarters


Thursday, 31 January 2013

I don’t let my kids have a cell phone until they are 13, says Bill Gates

London, Jan 31 : Bill Gates has said that 13 is the appropriate age for a child's first cell phone, adding that he has applied the rule to his family.
The 57-year-old, father-of-three revealed on the `Today' show that his children Jennifer and Rory were not allowed phones until their thirteenth birthday and his youngest daughter Phoebe is still waiting for one, the Daily Mail reported.
"We've chosen in our family that it's 13 where you get a phone," he said.
He said as a result his brood often return home from school complaining that all other kids have it, except for them.
Asked if he keeps passwords to his son and daughters' email and Facebook accounts, Gates said that he doesn't for 16-year-old daughter Jennifer, who he describes as "independent".
He admitted that monitoring online activity is "a very tricky issue for parents now."
Despite their vast wealth the Gates couple, who live in Lake Medina, just outside Seattle, Washington, have said that they want to give their children as normal an upbringing as possible.