IN SHORT: Scammers are targeting Facebook users in Kenya, promising them money and riches if they join the Illuminati. Know the signs of a scam and be careful not to become their next victim.
The Facebook page Free Joining Illuminati Nakuru Temple claims it can change people's fortune overnight by recruiting them to the “Illuminati brotherhood”.
It says those willing to join will be rewarded with KSh70,000 to welcome them to the “brotherhood”.
Nakuru city, about three hours from Kenya’s capital Nairobi, is in Nakuru county.
According to the Vox news website, the “Illuminati” is a popular conspiracy theory, referring to “shadowy cabals that supposedly control the world”. This has also been discussed at length by UK-based broadcaster the BBC.
In Kenya, the Illuminati is believed to be a network of rich devil worshippers, thought to practise human sacrifice in return for wealth. The subject is often condemned and those believed to be involved in it are outcast.
Locally, the Illuminati is often confused with and used interchangeably for Freemasonry, described as “the largest worldwide secret society – an oath-bound society, often devoted to fellowship, moral discipline, and mutual assistance, that conceals at least some of its rituals, customs, or activities from the public”.
There are Masonic halls in Kenya, and although local media have reported on the organisation extensively, no tales of human sacrifice have been told. While there is little evidence that something like the Illuminati exists, the Freemasons are a legitimate, if secretive, society.
As the two terms are widely misunderstood in Kenya, scammers take advantage of the misconceptions surrounding them to instil fear and scam the desperate.
Is this page one of them? We checked.
Signs of scam
This page often confuses the terms “freemasonry” and “Illuminati”, with some of its ads claiming the money to be awarded come from the Freemason society. This is a red flag that the page is not legitimate.
While the Facebook page has “free joining” in its name, implying that joining the society is without cost, we called the number listed in the ads and were ordered to buy airtime for the caller. This is another red flag.
Previously, we have been asked by similar pages to visit the nearest M-Pesa shop to “show loyalty” to the caller and do as he instructs on arrival. This is a common type of fraud, targeting M-Pesa shops in Kenya.
M-Pesa is a mobile money financial service by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms company.
We asked for the exact location of the “temple” in Nakuru but the caller struggled to explain. The Facebook page is not linked to any website and often posts skimpily dressed women, perhaps to lure Facebook users. This is yet another red flag.
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