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Beware ‘National Youth Empowerment Fund’ scam on Facebook and WhatsApp

An amateur-looking website titled “National Youth Empowerment Fund Application Form 2021” has been shared widely on WhatsApp and Facebook.

“National Youth Empowerment Funding Application Form 2021 online for registration exercise which is the quickest to apply for is now out for all bonafide citizens only who needs helping hands in their various Business and Education,” reads one Facebook post that links to the site.

“The National Youth Empowerment Funds is vision into giving out N150,000 – N550,000 grant to every Citizen under the age 13-65 years From 2021-2024.”

The site’s home page shows the flags and coats of arms of several African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

It says the fund is “aiming to create at least 774,000 empowerment opportunities through direct youth empowerment over a period of two years”. People are invited to fill out a form to apply.

But is the site – and the “National Youth Empowerment Fund” – legit?

Application_Scam

Who is running the site?

Facebook posts advertising the site, and the site itself, are full of grammatical errors. This is often a sign that you are dealing with a scam.

And at least one Facebook post only offers the grant in naira, Nigeria’s currency, even though the site appears to represent several African countries.

A Whois search reveals that the site was registered in the US on 13 July 2021. Its current IP location is the US state of New Jersey.

The IP history shows that since it was registered the IP address has been changed four times and hosting history has been changed five times.

Engagement bait scam

After filling in the application form, the website instructs applicants to share the post to seven WhatsApp groups in order to receive the cash grant.

This is an engagement bait scam, where people are asked to interact by liking, commenting or sharing. The more people interact with a post, the greater its reach. Usually there is no reward for that.

Africa Check has previously debunked similar claims.

To protect yourself against online scams, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

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Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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