IN SHORT: A Facebook page in Kenya claims to offer cash and other prizes, through joining “the Illuminati brotherhood”. But it’s just another scam, making use of a well-known type of fraud.
The Facebook page Director Joice Bukachi Illuminati kenya 0710426532 promises to change the financial lives of Kenyans through the “Illuminati brotherhood”.
The idea of the Illuminati is a popular conspiracy theory, referred to by Vox news as “shadowy cabals that supposedly control the world”. The BBC has also discussed it at length, calling it “the conspiracy theory to dwarf all conspiracy theories”.
In Kenya “the Illuminati” refers to what is believed to be a network of rich devil worshippers, often thought to practise human sacrifice in return for wealth.
To entice users, the posts on the page feature images of bundles of cash and high-end vehicles.
One of the posts on the page, dated 24 May 2023, reads: “Success is by choice, JOIN ILLUMINATI BROTHERHOOD FOR FREE TODAY AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE,,,JUST CALL OR WHATSAPP 0710426532 TUPIGIE USIOGOPE KUBADILISHA MAISHA YAKO 0710426532.”
The Kiswahili in the last sentence translates as: “Call us. Don’t hesitate to change your life.”
But are the offers and the Facebook page to be trusted? We checked.
Visit M-Pesa shop as ‘show of loyalty’ = red flag
In order to understand how the joining process worked, we called the cell phone numbers provided.
We were told we would be given KSh75,000 as a welcome gift. But there was a catch. The contact claimed that the “organisation” did not send cash directly to newly joining members and that we would need to be at an M-Pesa shop to receive it.
M-Pesa is a mobile money financial service by Safaricom widely used in Kenya. Safaricom is Kenya’s largest telecoms company.
The contact claimed that the cash “gift” could only be received by an M-Pesa agent and that following these orders would be our first “show of loyalty” to the organisation. Our suspicions were raised.
Common fraud scheme in Kenya
This had the hallmarks of a popular con scheme in Kenya. A caller asks you to save a cell phone number as “0722000000” – the official number for Safaricom. They then ask you to visit the nearest M-Pesa shop.
Once at the shop, they call you, and are identified as “0722000000” on your phone. They then ask you to hand over the ringing phone to the shop attendant, who is duped into following M-Pesa transaction instructions because they believe they are speaking to someone from Safaricom customer care.
This is a common type of fraud, targeting M-Pesa shops in Kenya, and Safaricom is aware of it.
Africa Check has debunked a similar page before.
This Illuminati page is also fake and the offers to make people rich are a scam.
To help protect yourself against online fraudsters, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.
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