Nigeria tries to quash rumor of “killer" cell phone number

Cell phone number rumored to kill upon answering

Talk about going extremely viral. Reports today from a number of outlets has Nigerian officials trying to quell public concern that by answering a certain phone number, cell phone users are killed.

Form the BBC: "Viral text messages had warned that several people had died when they answered calls with the ID 09141. The regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission, said this was "unimaginable" and "unscrupulous persons" were spreading fear. The text messages gave conflicting accounts of the number of people killed when they answered the call - some put the death toll at seven while others put it at 10. "

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A Nigerian Communications Commission spokesman told the AP: "It is only very gullible people that will believe such a rumor." Text message panics in Nigeria have included rumors of bombings and rumors that acid rain from seasonal dust storms can burn people alive. The campaigns are aided by poor education and lack of faith in the government.

The spokesman went so far as to explain "all calls to phone users pass through the switch of network operators where it is processed and identified for billing purposes and that no operator has issued this particular number to any user."

Such distressing rumors delivered via cell phone are apparently common in Nigeria which has seen such falsehoods as wide-spread bombings to acid rain storms.

Nigeria of course continues to be one of the worst scam-generating locations on Earth. The FBI routinely issues alerts in the US about scams originating in Nigeria.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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