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Beware of Facebook account impersonating Kenyan actor Lucy Maina and running promotions

IN SHORT: Becky is a new Kenyan TV drama series that premiered in July 2023 on Citizen TV. But scammers have already started cashing in, using the main character’s name and the actor’s photos to try to scam the public.

The Facebook account Becky Citizen Gifts offers users huge amounts of money in its promotions.

The account uses the stage name and photos of Kenyan actor Lucy Maina, who plays the lead character in the TV drama series Becky. The show has aired on Citizen TV, the country’s most-watched station, since July 2023.

The account asks users simple questions and promises them money.

Some of the posts ask users to mention English words and names starting with certain letters or to name their favourite TV programmes. Participating users are then contacted in the comment section and asked to claim their rewards privately via WhatsApp.

One of the posts, dated 16 August 2023, reads: “Chagua kitu Moja unataka kwa Sahii. PESA, Fees, Rent. Kisha uangalie inbox yako in 2 minutes.”

This mix of English and Kiswahili translates to: “Choose one thing you want now: money, school fees or rent. Check your inbox in two minutes.”

Similar posts have been published in public groups here, here, here, here and here.

But is this Facebook account really run by the actor? We checked.

MainaProfile_Scam

Signs of a scam

The account has very little activity on its timeline, but has numerous posts on Facebook groups. This is the first sign of a scam. Imposter accounts usually post promotions on Facebook groups but have little to no activity on their own timelines.

The account initially featured ordinary photos of an individual until 29 November 2022. Only from 11 August 2023 did it start posting photos of the actor and the show. This could indicate a hacked account, using a fake identity to defraud users.

We checked the actor’s official Instagram account Lucy Maina and found no promotions offering money.

The suspicious Facebook account asks users to engage privately via WhatsApp. Africa Check sent a WhatsApp message to the cellphone number provided and were told to deposit an “unlocking fee” of KSh599 or KSh799 depending on the amount we wanted. This is clearly a scam.

The account in the actor’s stage name and its promotions are fake.

Africa Check has debunked similar imposter accounts here, here, here and here.

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