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Beware of Facebook account impersonating new Kenyan president Ruto and making false promises

IN SHORT: A Facebook page using William Ruto’s name and photos is promising cash handouts in return for personal details. But the page is impersonating the Kenyan president and the offers are fake.

The Facebook page "Mtarajiwa Rais Mweshimiwa Ruto" offers cash giveaways to Kenyan users.

The account uses the name and photos of Kenyan president William Ruto.

One of its posts, dated 19 September 2022, reads: “Hello my fellow Kenyans today I want to award fifty-five serious fans with worthy ksh sixty thousand. Simply inbox your number and name for your award.”

Another post says that the cash giveaways target people working in low-income jobs, such as bike taxi business and small-scale vegetable sellers. 

The posts have been shared widely.

But is the Facebook account really run by Kenya's new president? We checked.


Signs account is fake

Facebook allows public figures such as Ruto to verify their pages on the platform. These pages carry the “blue tick” verification badge.

Ruto’s official Facebook account, William Samoei Ruto, is verified. The account offering the giveaways is not.

It is unlikely that the president would operate two Facebook accounts and dedicate one to cash giveaways. 

Besides, the posts on the fake account are full of spelling and grammar errors. This would be unlikely on a Facebook account representing Kenya’s president.

The account's requests for phone numbers might be an attempt to scam people.

To help protect yourself against online scams, see Africa Check’s guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

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