Recently the Nigeria Customs Service announced that it has uncovered the activities of an illegal syndicate involved in the last recruitment exercise carried out by the service earlier this year. The discovery was made during a routine documentation exercise for newly recruited Officers conducted at the Customs Training College Ikeja. 44 officers were found to have found their way into the college through the back door. Further investigations into the saga however pointed to the direction of some insiders who provided soft ground for the illegal recruitment. 5 serving officers were rounded up for their active participation in the scam which involved extortion of various sums of money from applicants and forgery of documents. The officers all serving at the Customs headquarters were subsequently handed over to the Economic and Financial Commission for further actions.
Rather than dampening the spirit of scammers, the exposure of their collaborators within seems to have made them go all out in their illegalities. Recently, one of such groups went back to the drawing board to perfect yet another strategy to dupe desperate work seekers, using numerous opportunities provided by the internet. Despite the fact the Service had concluded its recruitment exercise and even concluded training for the first batch of junior officers, scammers are still busy soliciting applications from job seekers.
To give good effect to their project, scammers went hi-tech to host their own version of the Nigeria Customs Service on the internet. Using the URL address, www.nigeriacustomservice.net, a clever attempt was made to clone the official website of the service.
The websites of Government agencies are hosted on a dedicated dot gov dot ng domain. The correct website is therefore hosted on the URL www.customs.gov.ng. However, the scammers did a good job of imitation, practically cloning the home page with similar features of layout and colour mix. The official portrait of the Comptroller-general of customs, complete with the welcome message on the official site were copied and reproduced on the fake site.
The fundamental differences were in the sub- menu displayed on the home page. While the official site has 10 sub- menus, each with additional drop down menus, the fake site has only 6 sub menus without the drop down option.
The menus give a clear direction to their illegal objectives. They include Home, Recruitment List that contains no name, and Auction of Cars and containers, where photographs of exotic cars and laden containers purportedly up for Customs sales were display. Other sub menus are for names shortlisted, containing names suspected to be fake, application form and NCS contact.
The first batch of newly recruited officers, the junior officers already finished their basic training at the Customs Training College, Kano last month. They have been deployed to various commands and units of the service. The graduate cadets are about now winding up their basic training at the College in Lagos.
Since the recruitment exercise was concluded, The Service has been inundated with requests by numerous applicants seeking to clarify the authenticity of some information sourced online purporting to offer job placement in Customs. They complained that they were often lured into paying various sums of money to get application forms downloaded before the job offers.
In one of such instances, a man now on the run used the website address www. topix.net advertised job placement opportunities for desperate applicants. The scammer who also posed as recruitment officer for other agencies of Government advertised the phone number 07085691370. When Customsduty called the number, posing as an applicant, the male respondent calmly gave the assurance of placement if a certain amount of money was paid for the forms.
The service has intensified its campaign to alert members of the public on the activities of these fraudsters, warning that their tools have now been expanded to include the use of newspaper publications, facebook and other social media driven by the Internet. Members of the public are advised to beware of their antics and report anybody who solicits money to get recruited into customs or get allocation of auction.
From: PR Unit