IN SHORT: A Facebook account impersonating Johnson Sakaja regularly posts loan offers. But it's a scam that tries to trick unsuspecting applicants into first paying a “security fee”.
The loan offers usually have a picture of the governor and encourage users to apply for amounts ranging from KSh500 to KSh200,000.
Another post from the account congratulates successful applicants and includes M-Pesa mobile money messages purporting to show cash being sent to various people.
M-Pesa is a mobile money financial service by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms company.
Together, the posts have attracted significant engagement, including comments from interested candidates.
But does the Facebook account belong to the governor of Nairobi and are the loans real? We checked.
Page not belonging to Sakaja
The governor’s official page, Sakaja Johnson, is verified and has more than 800,000 followers. The page is regularly updated with the governor’s latest activities. We could not find any posts where the page promoted loans.
Africa Check is in possession of the WhatsApp chats of an applicant who attempted to apply for a loan using the number provided. The WhatsApp profile is a business account, with a picture of Sakaja.
The account responded by asking the applicant what type of loan they were applying for and provided a list to choose from.
The account then claimed to be “Johnson Sakaja M-Pesa Loans”, offering amounts from KSh500 to KSh200,000 with a repayment period of up to 27 months and “low interest rates”.
The account asked for the applicant's details, their full name, telephone number, the amount they were applying for and their location.
The applicant provided this information and asked for a KSh10,000 loan. The account responded by asking for a “security fee” of KSh970 to be paid before the applicant could receive the loan. This would be refunded “immediately after paying the loan”, it added.
The account then posted pictures of M-Pesa messages showing money sent to different people. It claimed the messages showed applicants who had “paid the fee” and successfully received the loan money.
The loans are a scam
Asking for an upfront payment is a clear sign of a scam. The scammers pretend to be a popular person or organisation offering loans at low interest rates.
Applicants are directed to a private chat, asked to provide their details and pay a fee in order to receive the loan. The M-Pesa screenshots used to claim that the recipients are successful applicants are just another attempt to entice the new applicants to pay.
The Facebook page is an impostor account and the loans offered are a scam.
Check out our guide for tips on how to spot social media scams such as these.
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