The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has issued a cautionary statement alerting Nigerians to a new internet scam disguised as cryptocurrency giveaways, with a particular focus on the short video streaming platform, TikTok.
NITDA highlighted the increasing prevalence of this scam in an advisory released on Monday, noting that its objective is to deceive victims into making cryptocurrency payments and pilfering their crypto wallets.
NITDA pointed out that it has recently migrated from TikTok to other social media platforms while acknowledging that this type of scam is not novel.
The agency explained the scammers' modus operandi in detail:
The scammers flood TikTok with videos featuring cryptocurrency giveaways allegedly offered by notable personalities and organizations.
These scams are not new and have been circulating on various social media platforms for several years.
The videos often feature deep fake content, making it appear as though influential figures are endorsing these fake giveaways on reputable platforms and networks.
Some videos provide instructions on how to access listed websites and enter promo codes to claim free Bitcoin.
When users attempt to participate in the giveaway, they are prompted to create an account on the visited website.
Subsequently, they are instructed to enter a promo code provided in the TikTok video.
The website then simulates depositing Bitcoin into the user's wallet.
However, when users try to withdraw the supposed free Bitcoins, they are required to activate their accounts by depositing 0.005 Bitcoins.
NITDA emphasized that the scammers profit from these "activation" deposits, and victims never receive the promised Bitcoins.
Additionally, victims are coerced into divulging confidential information, which threat actors can exploit to compromise their legitimate cryptocurrency accounts.
To protect against falling victim to these internet scams, NITDA advised Nigerians not to share their data on untrustworthy websites.
The agency also cautioned against participating in social media giveaways, especially those related to cryptocurrencies.
NITDA, the federal government agency responsible for ICT development in Nigeria, has been actively warning Nigerians about various online threats.
Recently, the agency issued a caution regarding fraudulent ChatGPT websites masquerading as OpenAI's popular AI, ChatGPT.
These deceptive websites attempt to trick users into downloading malicious files or software that can compromise sensitive data, such as call logs, contacts, SMS, and media files.
In light of these evolving online risks, NITDA urged Nigerians to exercise caution while navigating the internet and to be mindful of the links they click on.