The Facebook page Maria Citizen Yasmeen is promising Kenyans it can boost the borrowing limit for a popular overdraft service to KSh100,000 in just two minutes.
The page uses the name and photos of actor Yasmeen Saiedi, who played the main character in Kenya’s popular TV drama series Maria. The show aired on Citizen TV.
The overdraft service Fuliza is run by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms company, in partnership with two of the country’s largest banks.
The service allows M-Pesa mobile money users to complete a transaction even if they don’t have enough funds in their accounts.
One of the page’s posts, dated 9 February 2023, reads: “KAMA ULIPATA FULIZA SEMA THANKS. Don't stress yourself about school fees or rent or even starting a business na uko na SAFARICOM line inbox nikuboostie fuliza from 00 to 100k in 2 minutes hii January hakuna stress don't be left behind.”
This mix of English and Kiswahili translates as: “If you got the Fuliza service, be thankful. Don't stress about school fees or rent or even starting a business if you have a Safaricom SIM card. Reach out to me via inbox so that I can boost your Fuliza limit from zero to KSh100,000 in two minutes. There is no stress this January. Don't be left behind.”
The page posts the ad regularly on a Facebook group with over 235,000 members.
The posts appear here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
But is the Facebook page and its offers legit? We checked.
Fake Facebook page
We checked Saiedi’s verified Instagram account, which has over 759,000 followers, and found no offers like the ones on Facebook.
It’s unlikely that the actor would operate this Facebook page but not feature the adverts on her Instagram account.
It is also suspicious that the Facebook page was created on 8 December 2022, it would appear specifically to run these promotions on Facebook groups. It seems highly unlikely that this page is in any way connected to Saiedi.
Maximum Fuliza loan limit set at KSh70,000
According to Safaricom, people registered as M-Pesa customers with their national identity cards can activate Fuliza but not all are immediately eligible for the service. Asking all users with a Safaricom SIM card to apply for the offer is therefore suspicious.
The minimum one can send using the Fuliza service is KSh1 and the maximum amount is KSH70,000. So the promise of raising the limit to KSh100,000 is another red flag.
The company has also advised its customers to keep transacting on their M-Pesa service and repay all their loans on time as the only way to have higher loan limits.
All signs point to the Facebook page being a scam.
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