It reads: “Following the government directives in conjunction with the ministry of health that everybody MUST stay at home due to Covid-19 pandemic,which has rendered many jobless,in support from the President,am giving you a grant of ksh 30,000 to help you during this time of difficulties.”
But it adds: “You only need to send the registration fee of ksh 599 to my Principal secretary number with me in office now and immediately upon confirmation I will send you ksh 30,000 to your Mpesa account.”
This sounded fishy, and reminded us of other hoax schemes we have debunked. We investigated.
Errors and red flags in post
The post is sloppily written, leaving out words and spaces, and using upper- and lower-case words haphazardly. This seems unlikely in an official social media post by the first lady of any country.
But the most glaring red flag is the paragraph where interested people are asked to send money. A request for money in order to receive a donation or grant should warn any Facebook user of a scam. Real charity doesn’t require you to make payment first.
And according to Kenya’s presidency, neither the first lady nor the president has a “principal secretary”. Principal secretaries are senior officials who are appointed by the president to administer a state department.
Not official Facebook account
It is also suspicious that the Facebook page does not have the blue tick verification badge, used to guarantee that the social media account of a public figure is genuine.
When we searched for “Margaret Kenyatta” on Facebook, we found only one account – Office of the First Lady Kenya –.with this verification.
There are no announcements of a KSh30,000 grant on this official page, or on the first lady’s verified Twitter account.
The account that posted the fraudulent message was created in February 2020. The official account was created in July 2013. The fake account has sent out the same post multiple times. It was created to cheat people out of money, and should be ignored. – Grace Gichuhi
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
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.