It is becoming common in Nigeria for miscreants to defraud candidates sitting for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations every year. These people deceive them and pretend to either be working in the JAMB office, know someone who works there or they introduce themselves openly as experts who can hack JAMB websites and upgrade their score.
After going undercover and pretending to be a JAMB candidate who failed in the recent and previous exams, this reporter discovered they are fraudsters swindling JAMB candidates, especially those who have written this exam continuously over the years like a traditional rite and thought the only solution to stop the frustration is to seek for what will now be referred to as a ‘JAMB upgrade.’
Recently, the issue became so rampant that some pages and groups were created on Facebook and other social media platforms for this purpose — deceiving JAMB candidates who could not reach the benchmark to be considered for admission in any university or for their desired course.
This story exposes how these perpetrators are carrying out their evil acts and how they are fraudulently collecting money from candidates.
One of the victims of this incident from Kwara State who pleaded anonymity narrated how he was duped in 2016 by a scammer who promised to upgrade his JAMB score after the mass failure recorded and the addition of 40 marks to some candidates. After paying, he noticed that the body in charge did not add any mark to his score.
He thought the next solution for him was to find a way to claim the 40 points that were allegedly added to the score of other candidates, not knowing that the person he called is just a scammer who has nothing to do with JAMB.
“It was in 2016 that the incident happened and I scored 168, I thought they will also add 40 marks to my score the way they added it to some candidate’s results but unfortunately nothing was added, I saw a number on Facebook and I decided to call him for the upgrade, he said I should pay N6,000 for the upgrade but he later accepted N2,000. After the money was transferred, he blocked my account immediately,” he explained.
Students Get Unwittingly Involved
Sulyman Adam Opeyemi, a friend to a victim, narrated how he ignorantly introduced his friend, Shafihi Muhammad, to one man he met on WhatsApp who claimed to be an expert in upgrading JAMB results.
He revealed that his friend scored 140 in the 2019 exam and he was in a WhatsApp group for WAEC and NECO EXPO when he saw a post from someone about upgrades. That was when he introduced his friend to a purported JAMB upgrader.
“I innocently introduced my friend to a scammer. The guy told him that he will do it, we even used my bank account to send the money to his account which is a sum of N1,500 but he said we should wait for two days. But after two days, nothing changed in my friend’s portal and till now and the number of this person is not going again,” he revealed.
Another victim, Agbaike Favour who wrote JAMB in 2019 explained how these scammers wanted to collect N20,000 forcefully, from her for an upgrade. After saying she was not interested, they went as far as to threaten her, saying that they would do their best to deny her from getting admission into her institution of choice if she refuses to pay the sum of N20,000.
She first called the man for him to re-upload her WAEC result on JAMB portal, unfortunately, these miscreants threatened her that she must upgrade her result or else they will deny her from being admitted into her institution of choice. When she called the man back to stop the upload, the man told her that she must also do an upgrade after uploading her result.
“He told me that I should send N20k to his bank account or else, he will make me not to gain admission, unfortunately, I had sent my details to him which included my WAEC result, JAMB registration number and PIN before I realised he wanted to dupe me,” she explained.
A Personal Experience with Scammers
I introduced myself as Abdulrasaq Adebanjo to the first fraudster, who introduced himself as Mr Jude and pretended to be a JAMB candidate who has been writing JAMB unsuccessfully for many years. I told him that I want to upgrade my JAMB score.
He asked me the day I wrote my exam and I replied it was on a Saturday. He then asked me which score I wanted and I told him I wanted to upgrade my score from 132 to 220.
He asked me to send my JAMB registration number and profile code, stating that if I paid the money he would start working on my JAMB score.
When I asked how he can be trusted after sending the money to his account without knowing the person I was speaking with, he replied: “I would have said I would do it for you before payment, but the thing is, I will need to buy a scratch card and internet charges, and that is the money I am collecting now, I haven’t even added my own money to it. Scratch card is 5k while internet charges is 1k. When we are done, you will now pay 3k for the upgrade.”
“And the other assurance is that, when I am done with the upgrade and you didn’t pay my money, I will reduce the score back,” he threatened.
Strangely enough, Mr Jude claimed to be working in the JAMB office in Abuja and told me he was extremely busy because he had more than 450 JAMB details he was working to upgrade. After our initial phone call, he started calling me consistently after I said I would send him some money. I blocked his number shortly after.
I continued with my investigation to reveal how these scammers are defrauding JAMB candidates. I called another scammer who identified himself as ‘Emma Amechi’ saying that I scored 132 in JAMB and I wanted to upgrade it to 220. He said if I wanted an additional 65 marks, the amount is N10,000 but anything from 100marks is N15,000.
“We can add [an] additional 65 marks for you or additional 100 marks, [an] additional 65 marks will cost you 10k while additional 100marks will cost you 15k. If you make the payment now today, your score will be upgraded in 24hours, by this time tomorrow, you will see your results,” he promised.
Reporter ‘Duped’ Scammer
After I was told to send my JAMB details, I sent the wrong registration number and profile code to discover whether they are actually working on my details or not.
“Thank you for contacting Barrister Festus James! Please let us know how we can help you. You are welcome to JAMB UPGRADE INTERNATIONAL,” he introduced himself via WhatsApp.
He told me that he will help me upgrade my JAMB score from 132 to 230 and I will pay N10,000 for it. He further explained that he would upgrade my Jamb score within 5 minutes that he has started working on the wrong details that I sent to him. To my surprise, he introduced himself as a Barrister and even put Governor Yahya Bello and his son’s picture as his Display Picture on WhatsApp.
“That will be 10K to upgrade to 230 the highest score. I will upgrade it for you now as I am talking to you and you will be checking it in the next 5 minutes. Once I am done with it and you confirm it you will now balance me up upon seeing your JAMB score.
“I thought you are ready now because I am already programming your result here,” he said when I pleaded for reduction.
Again, one of the swindlers I approached to help me upgrade my JAMB score assured me that he will help me upgrade my score from 138 – 220, he told me it would cost me 10k but we negotiated on it and he agreed to deduct N2,000 from it.
“Ok, I would help you if you can get N8,000, just put your mind at rest. I would help you out on this,” he promised.
One of the parents of a victim who pleaded anonymity explained that it was the stress and pressures from his son and his wife that pushed him to pay N2000 for scammers in 2016 JAMB.
He revealed that he knew those people were scammers but he did it in order to let his family know that those people were scammers who could not upgrade anything and prove that their intention was to collect money and run away.
Meanwhile, Isiaq Rafiu, a father of a JAMB candidate who scored 173 in this year’s JAMB examination revealed that he could never pay such money for a JAMB upgrade because everything is a scam which he does not believe in. He added that if JAMB upgrade is possible, he could never pay for such, vowing that his son would rather sit for another JAMB the following year instead of engaging in a JAMB upgrade scheme.
“I cannot be a party to JAMB upgrade because everything is a scam,” he noted.
Experts Weigh In
Professor Abdulganeey Ayodeji Salahu, a Professor of Guidance and Counselling in the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto has revealed that the implication of this issue of forgery of result in our society is that it would corrupt our society if this problem is not resolved.
He blasted the JAMB candidates who, because of their overzealousness to enter into the university or to get a professional course, by all means, run to scammers. He noted that the scammers themselves are miscreants who are looking for their daily bread through nefarious means.
“When it comes to that, everybody knows what is right and what’s wrong, it’s those who are desperate to get admission who are giving scammers the opportunity to dupe them. If you don’t have what you need to get into the university, why can’t you just take another option instead of paying somebody to help you upgrade your JAMB score? It’s better to change to another institution and If you are not interested you can re-write JAMB another year,” he said.
He admonished the candidates, asking them to exercise patience if they eventually score less than their expectation and try to re-write the JAMB examination again.
While speaking with Olowookere Sikiru, a graduate of Guidance and Counselling from the University of Ibadan, he said that since the inception of the Professor Ishaq Oloyede-lead administration as Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, there has been a reduction in examination malpractice and all sorts of crimes because all the perpetrators caught are brought to book.
He explained that the way forward to curb this menace in our society will be to host Digital skill sensitisation, Counseling, effective Parenting and government institutions.
“Digital skill sensitisation is to ensure that the candidates are sensitised and to educate students on Cyber Security and safety from an early age. Information is power; having the knowledge to distinguish between fact and fiction is more potent power.”
“Guidance and Counseling [is] not considered as a vital discipline in Nigeria education sector. But students will understand failure through their counsellors because their counsellor will not allow them to indulge in such acts. Schools should encourage the counsellor in organising a career talk and give room for counselling relationships. [They should also encourage] follow up [sessions for] secondary school leavers.”
He continued by stating that parental advice is very important because some parents prompt their children to indulge into this act and the government should ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
A Professional Hacker’s Opinion
While speaking with Abdulgafar Taoheed, an expert in White Hat Hacker, he revealed that any website can be hacked including the JAMB website.
However, he noted that it has become increasingly difficult to hack the JAMB website since Professor Ishaq Oloyede emerged as the Registrar, pointing out that this could be because a lot has been spent on the website to protect it from external forces.
He revealed that if he hacked the JAMB portal successfully, he could potentially upgrade candidates results on their website but it would not be worth it in the end because he will definitely be caught.
“If a person attempts to hack the JAMB website, they will try to follow you and you will think the whole world is following you due to the fact that the security in JAMB website is more than the CBN Security.”
“If I hack their portal and I put the upgraded result. I am going to hack their system to change it directly. I can enter the JAMB website and upgrade the JAMB result. I will enter their website to change the result from the source,” he revealed.
The Legal Perspective
Under the Criminal Code Act, which is applicable in the Southern part of the country, forgery is a felonious offence. The Act provides, in Chapter 44, two to three years jail term, with an option of fine, as punishment for forgery. The Penal Code Act which is applicable in the Northern part also has similar provisions with a maximum of 14 years), where the guilt of the alleged offender is proven.
On the offence of forgery, the Criminal Code Act reads: “Any person, who forges any document, writing, or seal, is guilty of an offence which, unless otherwise stated, is a felony, and he is liable if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for three years.”
In an interview with Chief Superintendent Of Police, Adeniran Aremu, who works as the Deputy Force Public Relation Officer Federal Headquarters Abuja said if any report of such is reported to them, the perpetrators will surely face the wrath of the law.
“If there’s any report of such, we will definitely follow it up and when they are arrested, we will take it up. So many of them have been arrested and they have been dealt with i.e most of them have been prosecuted so that it can serve as a deterrent to others who have the same intention,” he said.
JAMB Tutor Comments
While speaking with Enoch Olisa, who studied Science in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the University of Lagos and is a specialist in tutoring JAMB candidates, he made it clear that there is nothing like a JAMB upgrade because everything is a scam.
“There is nothing like JAMB upgrade, some of these JAMB candidates are just desperate to have a better score, unfortunately, when the result comes out and they score less than expectation, they will now be searching for JAMB upgrader,” he stated.
Instead, he advised JAMB candidates to prepare very well for their exam and stay away from the runs and scams because it is not sustainable.
Fabian Benjamin, the JAMB spokesman has reacted to this trend of people promising to upgrade candidates’ scores stating that the upgrade is not possible and warned candidates to stop patronising them.
He said it should be clear to candidates through the kind of money they are requesting from them.
He described these unscrupulous scammers as those people searching for something to feed themselves with.
“If upgrading of JAMB is possible, the result will be so useless that anybody can upgrade their score easily. JAMB upgrade is not possible. As the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of JAMB, my brother wrote JAMB last year and he didn’t get what is required and he has written this year again. If it [was] possible [to upgrade, wouldn’t I] talk to someone to upgrade it for me?” he asked.
He went on to admonish candidates, asking them to stop patronising these scammers, stating that the upgrading of JAMB scores is not possible at all.
“Candidates shouldn’t patronise these swindlers, as I am telling you, we are arresting them, but we now discovered why should we be running after them when the candidates are still patronising them? A JAMB upgrade is not possible at all,” he concluded.
This investigation was carried out by the author and heavily rewritten for clarity by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism through CAMPUS REPORTER.
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