Cameroon’s National Anti-Corruption Commission, CONAC - the country’s topmost anti-graft body - has called for increased vigilance from citizens over a new phenomenon of crime in the nation of 25 million people.

The body, which is directly attached to the Secretariat General of the country’s Presidency, warned early this week that fraudsters pose as officials of institutions organizing public examinations and have been contacting their victims using popularly-used social media networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp. The two social media applications are the most widely used in the country.

The fraudsters are using the popular social media platforms to extort money from candidates preparing for some public examinations by proposing to leak to them fake question scripts, CONAC officials said.

“The Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Reverend Dr. Dieudonné Massi Gams, informs the public that a new form of cyber criminality is en vogue, with the perpetrators proposing fake examination scripts to students undertaking official examinations,” a statement issued on 20 July by the body’s Vice President, Prof François Anooukaha, stated.

It warned that “these cybercriminals request victims to download exam scripts upon payment (of money) through their Orange or MTN mobile money accounts.” Students of Cameroon’s French and English subsystems of education are currently writing their end-of-course examinations. This will run until August ending for different categories of the examinations.

“The Chairman of CONAC warns candidates of official examinations not to fall prey to these forms of fraud and corruption through the new information and communication technology systems, but rather to prepare seriously for the examinations that await them. He further informs these fraudsters that they will be tracked down and arraigned in court,” the Professor added.

Some high-profile Cameroonian institutions also targeted by online fraudsters

The warning from the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Cameroon comes on the heels of a wave of incidents of cyber criminality aimed at some public institutions in the country.

On June 24, the elections management body, known by the acronym ELECAM, said it had launched an investigation to track down online fraudsters who hacked the official Facebook account of the body and posted untrue information.

“The Chairman of the Electoral Board of ELECAM informs the national and international community that a group of ill-intentioned individuals had unauthorized access to the official Facebook account of ELECAM on the night of June 23 at about 22:22, and published false information which is contrary to its ethics and mission,” Enow Abrams Egbe, ELECAM’s Board Chairman, announced in a communiqué.

Like ELECAM, many other public institutions in the country have, in recent times, suffered various forms of cyber-attacks. Cameroon’s 21 December 2010 law on cyber criminality punishes any citizen who indulges in crime using Information and Communications Technologies, ICTs.

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