The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has identified a file being circulated on WhatsApp tagged ‘Argentina is Doing it’, as fake news and warned the general public to avoid opening the link.
Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency gave the warning in a statement issued in Abuja.
“NITDA, in line with its efforts at enlightening Nigerians on the nefarious actions of cyber criminals exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to mislead and defraud unsuspecting victims, would like to bring to the attention of the general public the recent COVID-19-related fake news in circulation.
“The fake news tagged Argentina Is Doing It, being circulated over social media, particularly on WhatsApp, is aimed at causing panic and inducing terror in individuals.
“The message warns the recipient not to open a video file called ”Argentina Is Doing It” as it will hack their phone in 10 seconds.
“Furthermore, in order to lend credibility to the message, the message falsely claims that the Cable News Network (CNN) also reported it,” Umar said.
According to her,the message exhibits traces of misleading information which includes instructions to forward the message and claims of some kind of affiliation with a credible source or organisation.
She also said that the message aimed to induce panic or shock to the recipient and making impossible claims or serious consequences about the effect of the virus.
“The messages contain alarming languages tending to emphasise the urgent nature of the threat.
“The general public is therefore urged to disregard this as there is no CNN article regarding this hoax and the message is a variant of a similar message in circulation since 2017,” Umar said.
She called on all well-meaning Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its efforts at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country by not spreading fake news, adding that infodemic could cause more harm than the pandemic.
Umar also encouraged citizens to strictly adhere to recommendations given by health experts, and follow updates from verified sources of the relevant agencies handling the COVID-19 outbreak.
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