The Department of State Services (DSS) has expressed concerns over the increasing cloning of the official websites of various government agencies by unscrupulous elements to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
In the statement signed by the service’s spokesperson, Peter Afonanya, DSS lamented instances where the official identities/paraphernalia of certain Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were deceptively deployed by the criminals to short change vulnerable persons.
“The attention of DSS has been drawn to activities of some unscrupulous elements that clone official websites of some government agencies and use same to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
“Instances abound where the official identities/paraphernalia of certain MDAs have been deceptively deployed by these criminals to short change vulnerable persons. Notably, the Nigeria Social Investment Trust Fund (NSITF) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have so far suffered the tricks of these fraudsters who use decoys to manipulate their victims.
“This, in the case of NSITF, has resulted in loss of varying sums of money by those promised huge returns on Federal government’s investments and other poverty alleviation initiatives which ended up as fraudulent Ponzi schemes or money doubling ventures,” the statement read.
Expressing further concerns, the service noted: “On the other hand, some persons have also engaged in the illegal sale of NYSC kits and accoutrements to prospective corps members. They also advertise the issuance of medical clearance certificates as well as redeployment of corps members to preferred states for primary assignment on medical, security, marital grounds or other reasons.
“While the DSS is already working with these agencies to identify and apprehend the suspects, the service enjoins the public and prospective corps members, to be wary and note these fraudulent developments.
“As the service continues to track these criminals, those with intent to engage in similar acts are hereby warned to desist from this illegality or be brought to face the full consequences of their actions.
“The public is advised to exercise restraint in dealing with unknown or unconfirmed persons and groups or at least, make efforts to verify information from relevant authorities and agencies,” the service advised.