‘Customs e-auction’ll expose online fraudsters’

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Anna Okon

Online fraudsters who are in the habit of circulating messages about the Nigeria Customs Service’s proposed auction of seized items are in for a shock as the service has set the auction date for July 1.

Prior to the announcement of the auction date, some individuals had gone online using fake NCS Facebook and other accounts to announce auction of cars and other seized goods.

Each of the publication requires intended buyers to call certain phone numbers for confirmation.

But the NCS has said that such antics are doomed for failure and the perpetrators risk exposure on the day of the auction because of the watertight arrangement and security around the auction and the online portal.

The Acting Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah, stated this in an exclusive interview with our correspondent.

He said a lot of security measures had been put in place to defeat any attempt by fraudsters to take advantage of the auction process.

According to him, the online platform is so secure that no fraudster will be able to tap into it, adding that the sale would be broadcast live.

He said that intended participants were expected to collect a Personal Identification Number from the Federal Internal Revenue Service, which would enable them pay N1000 through the bank to qualify for the auction.

“The platform, which is highly interactive, will only give access to holders of the Tax Identification Number. Such taxpayers will log in, read the guidelines, pay the non-refundable N1,000 auction fee and proceed to bid for the items,” Attahhad noted earlier in a statement.

He stated that the e-auction platform had undergone repeated tests to see if it would accommodate huge number of participants.

According to him, the portal is fully networked to designated banks to ensure that money accruing from the auction goes to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Treasury Single Account for transparency and accountability.

Attah noted that only people who were looking for shortcuts would fall victims of fraudsters because the NCS would not require anybody to pay money into an individual account.

He added that the e-auction was put in place to correct all the defects of the manual auction, which did not create equal opportunities for bidders.

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