I'm taking time to make this explanation because of some people that want to learn. I've decided to go ahead and state this explanation because of the contention on why nibsshackathon.com.ng needed the BVN.
1. BVN is a number that ideally could be traced to you. Its a form of identification mechanism. It is similar to an ID card. The number is similar to the number on your drivers license, or your international passport.
2. The BVN is linked to your bank account just like you link an ID card to your bank account, just that its the central bank that now act as the authentication agency.
3. Government agencies prefer to ask you to provide BVN for various reasons, two of which are for the following reasons
A. Because BVN seems to be the only national ID method in Nigeria that offers an API where you can authenticate user data with what is on file.
B. BVN itself is government-backed so any government agency could easily get authorization to use it.
4. No one can steal money from your account by the virtue of just being in possession of your BVN details. In fact, no one can do anything with your BVN that they can not do with a copy of any other of your identity cards.
4. The so-called BVN scam is not a scam using BVN. There is usually more to the scam than what can be perpetrated with a BVN. So ideally, its safe to say that there is nothing like "BVN scam". An example of what people call BVN scam is a case when someone call you and tell you your BVN... or they say that your account has some BVN error. Such scam will proceed by asking you to provide you credit or debit card details which is actually the sensitive information that could lead to money being stolen from your account.
5. Asking for your BVN has enabled organizations to be able to verify that a user is who they say they are and that they didnt do double registration. It has helped government and corporate employers to eradicate ghost workers to some great extent. It has also allowed banks to trace their creditors and link them to other banks they may have. It is also used by NPOWER to ensure people didnt do double registration.
Now here is the real guideline to how to protect yourself online.
2. Learn about how they would use any information they ask you to provide. If you are in doubt, most sites do have a contact feature.
3. Check to ensure the site is secure by checking it the URL in the address bar starts with "https"
4. Make sure your device is free of viruses and spyware. Use latest, OS antivirus and browsers. In most cases, your browser or antivirus would warn you about fake sites.