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Beware of Facebook page impersonating Kenya’s Citizen TV news anchor Mashirima Kapombe and offering promotions

IN SHORT: We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again – a Facebook page pretending to be a Kenyan celebrity, promising users quick cash for engagement. This one, in the name of Citizen TV news anchor Mashirima Kapombe, is as fake as they come.

The Facebook page Mashirima Kapombe Citizen Tvv has been running promotions on a Facebook group in Kenya with over 144,000 members.

The page uses the name and photo of Mashirima Kapombe, a prominent news anchor with Citizen TV, one of Kenya’s most watched TV stations.

One post, dated 20 May 2023, reads: “Nataka watu 225 wapate promotion ya ksh 35000. Ni mwezi wa ngapi uko na siku chache. Taja upate zawadi.”

This mix of English and Kiswahili translates as: “I want 225 people to get KSh35,000 from this promotion. Which month has a few days? Answer and get a gift.”

The page has posted many different offers to the group here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Dozens of unsuspecting users have attempted to respond to the posts in the hope of winning cash. 

But is this Facebook page really run by the news presenter? We checked.


Signs of scam

We noted that the Facebook page’s timeline has very little activity. It is unlikely that the journalist would create a Facebook page for the main purpose of posting promotions.

Another red flag is the random capitalisation and odd punctuation in the posts.  We would assume that an established news presenter would make an effort to post well-written messages on social media. It is also unlikely that a public figure would frequently hand out large amounts of cash.

We noticed the page asks users who comment on its posts to message a WhatsApp number “starting with the word YES”.

Despite not replying to its Facebook posts, we sent the word “YES” to the cellphone number. We were congratulated and asked to deposit KSh200 as “unlocking fee” for the “prize money”. This is a clear indication of a scam.

Africa Check has debunked a similar page impersonating Kapombe. We found then that Kapombe's legitimate Facebook account Mashirima Kapombe (Me Kenga) makes no mention of any promotions or giveaways.

This page is also impersonating her and attempting to scam her fans.

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