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Personal Data of Nigerians Sold Online for 100 Naira — PIN

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Sensitive personal and financial data of Nigerians are being sold online for as little as 100 Naira, according to a recent revelation by Paradigm Initiative (PIN), a non-profit organisation.

In a press release published on Thursday, June 20, PIN declared that the unauthorised access to the personal data of Nigerians was “a blatant infringement on the privacy of Nigerian citizens.”

The dissemination of such information could lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and other malicious activities, including data owners being targeted by burglars, kidnappers or terrorists who buy data that includes home addresses, it warned.

On March 16 this year, an online media outlet, Fij. Ng reported that a website, XpressVerify.com.ng, had unauthorised access to the personal data of Nigerian citizens and was selling it for profit. Although the website was quickly down, PIN said they are “seeking legal redress on behalf of Nigerian citizens.”

Further investigation by the non-profit organisation revealed that another website, AnyVerify.com.ng, has been selling personal data since November 2023.

From our research, AnyVerify.com.ng is a website involved in the commercial distribution of personal and private data of Nigerians, PIN stated. On its webpage, a drop-down displaying the myriads of data services which the website renders can be observed.

These include personal data such as the National Identity Number (NIN), the Bank Verification Number (BVN), a virtual NIN, Driving License, International Passport, Company details, Tax Identification Number (TIN), Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and Phone Numbers.

Furthermore, PIN’s research found that AnyVerify.com.ng was visited 567,990 times in February 2024 and 188,360 times in April 2024.

PIN added that it has issued a pre-action notice to various government agencies, including the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), urging immediate action.

PIN urged the Nigerian government to take “immediate and decisive action” and asked stakeholders to join hands in tackling the “critical issue.”

On its website, Paradigm Initiative (PIN) describes itself as an initiative that “connects under-served young Africans with digital opportunities and ensures the protection of their rights.”

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