“Good news to all entrepreneurs! The ministry has partnered with USAid, BACC and other international bodies in giving out grants to all deserving citizens to boost your business during this time,” it reads.
“I urge all to grab this chance. If interested kindly apply through the link below.”
The post is dated 4 May 2020. The link is to a Google form with the logo of the Botswana Innovation Hub, a government organisation that promotes technology and entrepreneurship. It’s headed “Botswana grant application” and requires people to submit personal information.
But is the grant offer genuine?
Page and ad ‘fake’
In late May Uganda’s finance ministry posted a screenshot of an ad with the same wording on its Facebook page – stamped “fake news”.
“Do not be conned during this #Covid-19 lockdown period by online fraudsters using this fake Facebook account below. The Ministry of Finance has not partnered with any organisation for purposes of offering grants to Ugandan entrepreneurs,” the ministry wrote.
And the Botswana Innovation Hub has also warned that the ad is a scam.
“Botswana Innovation Hub is aware of a Facebook post from an illegitimate Facebook profile circulating to the public; Ministry of Finance and Economic Development -Botswana,” it posted on Facebook on 5 May.
“The aforementioned post is a scam and is not affiliated nor originated from BIH, therefore the public is advised to disregard the fake post and not interact.”
‘Demands for personal information’
The Facebook page running the ad was created on 9 December 2018 and is managed by one person from Kenya. The legitimate page of Botswana’s finance ministry was created on 27 June 2017 and is managed by six people from Botswana.
On 2 July 2020 the ministry also issued a warning about the page.
“This is to once again remind the general public to be aware of the current fake Facebook page of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development claiming that the Ministry has partnered with other business entities to give grants,” it posted on Facebook.
“The general public is advised to refrain from responding to demands of personal information and payments from the fake page or from any individual who claims to be from the Ministry.” – Dancan Bwire
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