According to the post, the selected people are to call Mr Sunday on 09163842034 for their payment, and the needed banks include FCMB Bank, Keystone Bank, Unity Bank and Union Bank. The post also provided Mr Sunday’s phone number, 09163842034, to contact for more information and inquiries.
However, through the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund’s official Twitter and Facebook channels, the federal government has warned Nigerians to be wary of fraudulent messages making the rounds over the purported payment of N80,000 to beneficiaries of the Survival Fund Scheme.
“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), the Survival Fund Project Delivery Office (PDO) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) are the only verified sources for all information about the Survival Fund program,” it noted.
Additionally, the survival fund by the federal government would have been shared on the official social media channels and major news outlets as it did in the past at the inception of the scheme. However, the federal government has not posted anything similar on its Facebook and Twitter channels, where it publishes its updates.
Several attempts to contact Mr Sunday on 09163842034 proved abortive as the number did not connect. The number, which is different from that of the sender (08163041675), appeared as “Big Scammer” on TrueCaller, a smartphone application with caller identification features using the Internet. This implies that several persons must have contacted the number, and it was flagged as a scam on the App.
It should be noted that this is not the first time such a message is surfacing on WhatsApp. In October 2021, a similar message became viral on WhatsApp groups, and a fraud alert was reported by news outlets such as the Vanguard and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in January 2022.
In a report by NAN, Mr Tola Adekunle-Johnson, Coordinator, Project Delivery Office (PDO) of the Federal Government’s MSME Survival Fund Scheme, said fraudsters try to steal from unsuspecting members of the public.
Mr Adekunle-Johnson said, “The notice requesting the public or individuals to disclose their account details on a WhatsApp platform, phone or call is fraudulent and should be disregarded by all and sundry, as this message is not from the project delivery office of the scheme.”
Adekunle-Johnson stated that tracks of the survival fund scheme have closed. Still, even the initial verification process did not require beneficiaries to drop the account details of individuals as being demanded by fraudsters in the ongoing scam.
“The public is notified that requests circulated via social media and SMS for people to disclose their account details to benefit from the Survival Fund Scheme are a scam.
“The public is asked to note that the only valid number for inquiries and information for the Survival Fund Scheme is 07004000500.”
“The Scheme is also not disbursing the sum of N80,000 or any amount in grant or loan to individuals or businesses as advertised by the fraudsters.”
In February 2021, the federal government initiated the MSME survival fund scheme as a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguarding Jobs in the MSMEs sector.
However, an attempt to sign up for the scheme on the MSME survival fund official website reveals that the scheme is now closed.
Isaiah Ude, a fact-checker with BONews Service NG, has looked into the claim that the federal government is contacting people for 80,000 survival funds via WhatsApp and finds it to be FALSE.