Fraudsters weekend hacked the WhatsApp number of a former senator representing Lagos Central, Tokunbo Afikoyomi, defrauding his friends of millions of naira.
It was learned that though some of his friends were smart enough to call the senator before parting with money, which the fraudsters solicited on his behalf on Satuday, others readily submitted to their demands and lost money in the process.
Afikuyomi, who confirmed this in a statement yesterday, said: “Yesterday morning (January 13), some scammers hacked my phone line and temporarily seized control of my WhatsApp messages.
‘’They then sent fraudulent messages to some of my contacts requesting that they transfer some money on my behalf.
“Many of my friends quickly called me up on the regular phone while some others spoke with my aides to alert me.
‘’Unfortunately, a few others did not suspect that anything was wrong. They innocently complied with the fake request and made transfers of millions of naira to the various account numbers in different banks supplied by the scammers.”
Afikuyomi said he quickly alerted the relevant authorities to track the fraudsters and reveal their identities, explaining further that “I immediately complained to the relevant security and regulatory agencies and I thank the anti-fraud unit of the police for springing into action immediately.
“Their efforts led to identifying some of the account numbers and the details of the respective owners through which the scammers collected various sums of money. The security agents are also already deploying technology to geo-locate the perpetrators. Investigations by relevant agencies are still ongoing.
“Meanwhile, I have suspended the use of my WhatsApp number till the authorities can conclude their investigations and I can now put more security measures in place to protect the line. I can only be reached through regular phone calls on the same number.’’
He expressed angst against the nation’s banking system, wondering how fraudsters could have succeeded in opening accounts for the sole purpose of defrauding others.
He said: “I must at this stage express my dismay with the lack of due diligence in the bank account opening and maintenance system in our country. This is what has come out so far in the investigation of this phone hacking scam.
“The scammers opened so many bank accounts without supplying the banks with the necessary security checks and details required by the law. In the same manner, it is now obvious that some of the Over Top Media Services providers do not fully comply with the provision of Nigeria’s Data Privacy and Protection Laws.
‘’I will go the whole distance in helping relevant agencies to smash the syndicate. I, hereby, express my determination to do everything within the law to smash this evil syndicate that has brought pain and tears to many people within Nigeria and those in the diaspora.”