A Short Message Service (SMS) claims the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of the All Progressives Congress is giving volunteers who worked for his victory the sum of N 86,890.
A ROUNDCHECK researcher received the message at exactly 7.05 am on April 5th, 2023.
The text message has a phone number attached to it which a volunteer is expected to reach out to claim the compensation.
The SMS reads: “APC THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK AS A VOLUNTEER FOR TINUBU YOU HAVE BEEN GIFTED 86,890 FOR THE BETTERMENT OF NIGERIA CALL David 09067137945 FOR PAYMENT”.
Another version of the claim received by a source on 6th April, 2023 reads: APC approves 2023 presidential election 85,000 HAS BEEN APPROVED BY TINUBU TO RECEIVE MONEY CALL Mr DAVID 07038271456 FOR PAYMENT
We noticed a difference in the amount promised by the viral text messages.
While the first SMS promised potential beneficiaries the sum of N86,890, the second SMS received promised the sum of N85,000.
ROUNDCHECK also observed that the text messages are error-filled and have no regard for the president-elect as the former governor is being regarded simply as “Tinubu”.
Also, the messages are woefully lacking in punctuation as well as in grammar, a red flag that the SMSs did not emanate from an official source.
Brief About Bola Tinubu
A former Lagos State governor and senator, Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as Nigeria’s president-elect in the concluded 2023 elections.
On March 1st, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC declared Tinubu with his running mate, Ibrahim Kashim Shettima the winner of the election held on February 25th.
The president-elect secured a total of 8,794,726 votes, the highest of all the candidates and he will be sworn-in as President on May 29, 2023.
Volunteer Groups For Tinubu
In the build-up to the elections, many volunteer groups nationwide declared support for Tinubu’s presidency.
For instance, in Kano State, 10,000 persons reported volunteered to be Tinubu’s agents in Kano.
Also, volunteer groups, who promised to mobilise people who will vote for Tinubu, were inaugurated in Lagos, Edo, Oyo States, and across many other states.
ROUNDCHECK decided to put a call through to a phone number attached to the text message to verify if truly the sender of the SMS is from Tinubu’s camp.
This was a few hours after receiving the message.
We dialed the phone number using TrueCaller, a smartphone application that has features of caller-identification among other advantages.
The display name was: ‘John Bayo Scammer’.
The calls were not answered twice. But the ‘scammer’ called back.
The logic behind not picking up the calls, as ROUNDCHECK later found out, was to prevent any form of interruption during the telephone conversation which might occur due to exhaustion of airtime.
Verification From APC Team
ROUNDCHECK reached out to Bayo Onanuga, the Director Media and Publicity, Tinubu/Shettima Campaign, to confirm the trending text message promising monetary gift.
No response to email and Twitter direct messages sent to Onanuga and APC national youth leader, Dayo Israel on 9th and 12th April respectively (up until now, no reply despite reminders)
Efforts to contact the chairman of APC in Ogun state, Yemi Sanusi also proved abortive as he did not respond to several calls on the 11th and 12th of April.
Meanwhile, ROUNDCHECK reached out to an APC youth leader and member of various volunteer groups for the party in Ogun state, Habeeb Whyte, who confirmed that the claim of APC giving incentives after elections is untrue.
“This is an attempt by some elements to destroy the democratic values and image of our great party, APC.”
“There is nothing like post-election gifts at all,” he said.
Whyte further added that: “Most volunteers that worked for the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the primaries to the main election did it out of love and belief that they have in Asiwaju’s candidacy. They never did it for cash or gifts. It is an insult to any volunteer that has been alleged to collect gifts as post-election proceeds.”
Being a legal practitioner, Whyte mentioned that “.. it would not be in a bad place for those scamming people with post-election gifts to be arrested and prosecuted.”
Meanwhile, we spoke to Lulu Fawehinmi, a member of the Progressive Young Leaders Summit Steering Committee under the office of APC Youth Leader. He said the claim is a scam.
“There is nothing like that,” he maintained.
WORD FOR WORD: The Telephone Conversation With The Scammer
The conversation started at exactly 9:42 am on April 5th, and it lasted for 7 minutes, and 6 seconds:
Scammer: Hello. Good afternoon, I saw your missed call.
ROUNDCHECK: Good morning, sir
ROUNDCHECK: I received a message, and I tried to reach out to the attached contact.
Scammer: What is your name, and where are you calling from?
ROUNDCHECK: Sulaiman Tunji from Ibadan, Oyo State (wrong name).
Scammer: Which bank are you using and would like to receive the money?
ROUNDCHECK: I’m using Opay.
Scammer: We don’t have a network in Opay, sir. The banks we have network with is Union bank, FCMB, Keystone, or Union. Do you have any of them? [sic]
Scammer: What’s the account number of the Opay, sir?
Scammer: The account number of Opay?!
ROUNDCHECK: Please, sorry. Let me cross check the account number. I just opened it recently, and I don’t know it offhand. Are you still there?
Scammer: I’m with you.
Scammer: Hello. Hello.
ROUNDCHECK: I’m with you, sir.
Scammer: I want to go to the car… (Talking in the background) Hello… (Noise of car honking was loud in the background)
ROUNDCHECK: Yes, I’m with you.
Scammer: Leave that place, it’s noisy; I can’t hear you.
ROUNDCHECK: Can you hear me now? 7011… (wrong number)
Scammer: This is not the Opay account number. It’s not correct. (He called the numbers out again.)
Scammer: It’s not correct na.
ROUNDCHECK: Let me check and call you back.
Scammer: Can’t you call the account number of the First bank?
ROUNDCHECK: I don’t know the number offhand.
Scammer: Be on the call and check the account number of the Opay na. Be on the call and check the account number of the Opay.
ROUNDCHECK: Ok. (Received an OTP from Opay despite not having an Opay account).
Scammer: Hello, sir.
ROUNDCHECK: Hello, I’m still looking for it. Hold on.
Scammer: Do you have an ATM card?
ROUNDCHECK: No, I use mobile banking. Please, while I’m looking for the account number, I would like to know the branch of the APC party giving this gift so that I will express my gratitude during one of their meetings.
Scammer: I am not calling from the bank (mistaking BRANCH for BANK).
ROUNDCHECK: Yes, that’s why I would like to know whom to thank during the party’s meeting.
ROUNDCHECK: Another concern of mine is that TrueCaller flagged your number as ‘John Bayo Scammer’. Why?
Scammer: (Stammering…) are you telling me that I’m a scammer or what? Which kind of nonsense is that?
ROUNDCHECK: No, I’m just asking out of curiosity, sir.
Scammer: It’s your problem… no, phone that’s doing like that.
ROUNDCHECK: But TrueCaller is more like an application that…
Scammer: Hold on! Shut up! If you’re not interested in the gift, you can hang up the call.
ROUNDCHECK: Hello. Hello…
Scammer: (He stammers)… then hangs up the call.
We also contacted the phone number in the second SMS. TrueCaller displayed the number as ‘David Pdp’. By ‘PDP’, it means the People’s Democratic Party (an opposition political party in Nigeria).
However, all efforts to reach the number on 10th April proved abortive as the calls were not answered.
Word For Word Conversation With Second Scammer
But the next day, April 6th, ROUNDCHECK reached the number again and the receiver, also a male, immediately yelled out:
David Pdp: Are you an APC member?!
ROUNDCHECK: I received a…
David Pdp: (He cuts in) call your account number to receive the money. If you want to call it, call it.
The conversation that follows was different from the previous one as the ‘David Pdp’ was impatient and was yelling having discovered that the Opay account number called out was incorrect.
One would wonder why a PDP number is the sender of an APC cash gift. This is a red flag because both political parties are two strong oppositions in Nigeria.
NOTE: More Findings
ROUNDCHECK is aware how scammers are acquainted with digital banks.
Thus, we traced the two numbers to Opay (a digital bank operating in Nigeria where phone numbers are also used as the account number) by attempting to transfer money across to the owners of the number.
We were able to spot the real name attached to the Opay account number (07038271456) as Oluwatoyin Samuel Adesegun.
Although, more searches to link to the social media accounts were not positive as there were many accounts with that name. Chances proved that it is either the scammer used his full real name and phone number or he used a third-party information (because his display name on TrueCaller and bank name are contradicting).
We also inputed the mobile number of the second scammer (09067137945) on mobile banking apps to trace him. The number used by the scammers second shows no relevant information from the display name. A red flag that he is hiding his identity.
ROUNDCHECK findings show that the phone number attached to the text message has been flagged as SCAMMER and the telephone conversation with the sender confirms it.
Also, we discovered that the person who answered the call put through to the second phone number followed a similar format as the first scammer did– they were both impatient, aggressive and quick to demand for the account number without proper introduction.
Meanwhile, bank management already warned customers not to reveal their transaction pin to anyone, neither will a staff of the bank call to request for One-Time Pin (OTP).
We, therefore, confirm that the claimants are scammers trying to dupe unsuspecting members of the public by accessing their bank accounts to presumably hack and transfer their funds.
The scammers are hiding under the guise of providing gift incentives on behalf of the President-elect of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu., for winning the 2023 Presidential election.
Our findings showed that neither the President-elect, his party, nor his campaign team is involved in sending messages to Nigerians to claim any cash gift as a post-election incentive.
EDITOR’S NOTE: ROUNDCHECK has observed these patterns by scammers to gain access into bank accounts of unsuspecting members of the public. We admonish our readers and members of the public not to give their personal bank information to an unauthorized person(s)
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