A circulating post on Whatsapp claimed the Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMB ) has launched a new grant for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The claim asserted that the grant is available to all traders, business owners, and students, adding that “they are giving out the sum of ₦20,000 each to All Citizens of Nigeria.”
The post says “it is part of the Federal Government’s plan to support Nigerian citizens who need helping hands. It also urged citizens not to miss out on the Opportunity and that October payment has begun for all aspirants.”
About NIRSAL Microfinance Bank
NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) is a Nigerian Financial Institution licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to carry out specialized banking services.
NIRSAL, otherwise known as NMFB is a subsidiary of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc.), a non-banking financial institution established in 2013 with a mandate to facilitate the free flow of affordable finance and investments to the agricultural sector.
It is tasked to redefine the agribusiness sector and its activities within the country. It does this by measuring, repricing, and then sharing agribusiness credit risks.
The Bank is one of the leading financial institutions operating in Nigeria licensed by the CBN to offer loans for different purposes.
Also, the bank currently has its headquarters in Abuja, with a network of 115 branches in all the states of the Nigerian Federation
ROUNDCHECK found out that a click on the claim reveals two different graphics design slides with a brief insight into the bank’s aims and objectives.
The first slide’s design depicts the coat of arms of the Federal Government Of Nigeria, while the second slide shows the logo of NIRSAL Microfinance bank 20,000Grant.
Below the two graphics was a text introduction claiming the Federal government collaborated with NIRSAL and that the grant offer will be starting on Monday 3rd of October 2022 urging applicants to fill out the form.
ROUNDCHECK noticed that an applicant can have access to the next page, by filling in their Name, Phone number, and state with a sign indicating to proceed.
The next page form requires a bank document of the applicant, account number, bank name, and if you are a citizen of Nigeria and also asks the applicant to click on continue to answer another three questions(1. Employment status, 2. Marital status and 3. Reason for the grant) for them to be eligible to receive the funds.
The last page of the website conveys a congratulatory note and in the next step, the applicant needs to have access to the withdrawal page.
Here, applicants are asked to follow instructions that require them to share the link with 15 friends or 5 WhatsApp groups and also keep sharing until the blue bar is filled. This is a red flag to track malicious links.
All of these above steps and instructions are part of what had been previously fact-checked to be a malicious way to collate the personal details of unsuspecting applicants.
Using Verification Tool To Assess Site
With the aid of ScamAdviser, a website search reveals that the link has been sanctioned.
Also using Whois (another website search engine) to track the link revealed that the site is unavailable.
NIRSAL Also Debunked The Claim
Further research on the official Facebook account shows that NIRSAL Microfinance bank issued a disclaimer on Wednesday 12th October 2022 on their Facebook page to debunk the claim.
NIRSAL said that it “DOES NOT provide any form of GRANT from the federal Government or any other body to the public”, adding that any information not accessed through the bank official website or designated social media handles should be disregarded.
The disclaimer signed by the NIRSAL management and assessed by ROUNDCHECK, said the general public should note that all “NIRSAL loans are repayable loans.”
Although, the official website of the bank had no information about the claim.
Findings have shown that the claim and link are Misleading as there are no grants from the NiRSAL and Federal government.
The Circulating WhatsApp message with the claim that the FG and NMB had launched a grant of 20,000 to Nigerians is a SCAM.
The claim and the link are generated to steal details of unsuspecting members of the public.
The report is published under the ROUNDCHECK’s Volunteers’ Network Project cohort 2.
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