How fake PVC registration websites stirred misinformation over INEC’s CVR exercise


JUST as the Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise embarked upon by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was winding down in July 2022, fake websites advertising voter’s card registration circulated online.

The web links were shared alongside some texts on social media. One of such posts circulating on WhatsApp read: “Federal Government has approved Individual VOTER CARD (PVC) registration online to avoid unnecessary crowd in the NIMC centers. Enroll Now”.

It also directs users to a website for registration, alongside a claim that the Nigerian government has approved individual voter card registration online.

READ: FACTSHEET: What you need to know about Nigeria’s pivotal 2023 general elections

The INEC is the umpire that statutory oversees elections in Nigeria.

The screenshot of the phishing website.

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

Apart from the fact that the phishing website attached to the claim is different from the INEC’s CVR portal, it is also riddled with grammatical and spelling errors.

The second page of the website requests biodata, while the third page, like every other phishing websites, prompts users to share the web link to several individuals or groups on WhatsApp.

This is one of the characteristics of scam and phishing websites observed by The FactCheckHub in the report about scam sites in Nigeria.

Screenshot of the third page of the phishing website

Further findings revealed that the just-concluded exercise by the INEC on its portal is known as Continuous Voters Registration (CVR).

It is strictly done on the INEC portal and allows users to update their voter registration information, pre-register as a new voter or transfer voter registration to another polling unit.

Similarly, the INEC on Monday, August 1, 2022 disowned the fake websites and warned Nigerians not to fall victims.

In a statement signed by National Commissioner Festus Okoye and reported by Channels TV, INEC said it has concluded its Continuous Voter Registration exercise for the 2023 general elections.

“The Commission states unequivocally that the site is not linked to the Commission and the link/portal is spurious and from a dubious source.

“Members of the public are strongly advised not to succumb to the antics of online scammers and should avoid such fake sites.

“The Commission has concluded the Continuous Voter Registration exercise nationwide and does not need to open an additional site or portal for the purposes of registration of voters,” the statement partly read.

This is not the first time fake websites advertising voter registration were circulating online.

ALSO READ: Nov 11 polls : INEC warns against election-related misinformation

In June 2021, when the INEC commenced the CVR exercise to enroll those who have attained the legal age of 18, The FactCheckHub reported similar fake websites which went viral on WhatsApp at the time.

In addition, a claim that INEC is conducting house-to-house voters’ registration in Northern Nigeria was also found to be FALSE.

The FactCheckHub has observed, over time, a trend that scammers usually ride on to carry out their phishing activities and has highlighted how to spot such in order not to fall victim to their scams.

You can also learn how to fact-check viral posts shared via WhatsApp here.

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