Hundreds of catfish accounts with photos of very beautiful Arewa girls are being opened daily on social media, owing to fraudulent activities of internet scammers and imposters.
In a highly online fraudulent technique known as “catfish,” an internet fraudster assumes false accounts on social networking sites for the sake of growing followers and developing online relationships with strangers.
Usually, the perpetrators use someone else’s picture instead of their own and pretend to be that person.
Investigations by Arewa Agenda indicates that after they must have attracted a substantial number of followers, they sell the account which can go for thousands of Naira, otherwise, they take advantage of the relationship they might have created with some unsuspecting followers to solicit for large sums of cash.
In this month alone, more than a hundred of such account was cited by Arewa Agenda on Twitter with thousands of followers and comments in just two weeks.
Some of such catfish accounts monitored by Arewa Agenda on Twitter include a profile account that goes by the name Basheera Ahmad and twitter handle @Basheererh, Shareefat Usman with twitter handle @Shareefat_, Ruqayya Kabo with twitter handle @Ruqayyerh_, Mansoorah with twitter handle @Mansoorah19, Sadiya umar with twitter handle @Sadiiya_, Zahra nuur with twitter handle @Zahranuur2, Khairiyyah with twitter handle @Khairiyyerh5 among others.
All the accounts were created in August and most have over a thousand followers already.
Basheera Ahmad for example only follows 55 persons, but has got 1,377 followers in about two weeks, Mansoorah only follows 58 accounts but has got 1,132 followers already.
One common feature of these catfish account is that they barely follow a substantial number of handle, probably following only their co-conspirators and other accounts they control.
Another feature is that their choice of names is dominated mostly by names with double alphabets in their spellings such as, “ee,” “oo,” “ii,” “yy” as in “Mansoorah.”
A closer look at their operations will indicate that these accounts coordinate within themselves as one engages with the post of another mostly by retweets, indicating that either the fraudsters are in cahoots or one person controls plenty of such account.
In one post by @Basheererh, the account posted two of such beautiful photos with the caption, “Waec in my mind. Please retweet and pray for me” was followed by torrents of comments and likes by gullible followers some of whose profile can be adjudged moral and responsible.
Photos of extremely beautiful Arewa girls is key to the activities of these catfish scammers.
They harvest tons of these photos from sites where most of the original owners of the photos have an active online presence and export them to social media sites where the real owners are not present.
They could dig wedding photo galleries, naming ceremony photos or other social event photos from the Instagram or Facebook account of this followers and go to Twitter to create an account using a new name and these harvested photos.
After they have created the account, they make a number of post with enticing offers such as, “Hello, I just opened my account today, follow me I follow back.”
It is highly likely that a lot of twitter users who follow such accounts have quite a number of catfish account on their following list.
In order not to fall prey to the activities of such scammers, social media users must be very cautious of their cyber security and must ensure certain things make sense.
For instance, if the account is new with little activity but tons of followers, if they keep making enticing offers in their posts or if they ask you to leave Instagram and chat via email, kik or hangout, chances are that the account is a catfish scammer.
Other things to look out for is if they refuse to talk on phone, their profile have tons of errors, they get serious way to quickly, they ask for cash, chances are that you are being cat fished!
Penalty for Catfish Scammers:
According to the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015, anyone convicted of identity theft will be convicted for 3 years’ imprisonment and/ or a N7 million fine.
Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards peaceful coexistence and National Development through positive narratives.
See images of some of the images used for the catfish accounts: https://arewaagenda.com/catfish-fake-arewa-girls/