The Facebook page Illuminati Wealth Seekers claims it can change the financial lives of Kenyans through the “Illuminati brotherhood”.
According to the Vox news website, the “Illuminati” is a popular conspiracy theory, referring to “shadowy cabals that supposedly control the world”. The BBC has also discussed it at length.
In the Kenyan context, we believe "the Illuminati" refers to a network of wealthy devil worshippers, also often believed to practice human sacrifice in return for wealth.
The Facebook page uses the images of famous people in Kenya and Africa, believed to be rich, to convince users.
One of the posts on the page, dated 19 April 2023, reads: “JOIN ILLUMINATI BROTHERHOOD FOR FREE TODAY AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE ,, JUST CALL OR WHATSAPP((0114147551)) TUPIGIE USIOGOPE KUBADILISHA MAISHA YAKO.”
The Kiswahili in the last sentence translates as: “Call us. Do not hesitate to change your life.” The post uses the image of Tanzanian musician Naseeb Abdul Juma, popularly known as Diamond Platnumz.
The page has published many similar posts since 2 June 2022.
But are the offers and the Facebook page to be trusted? We checked.
Do not be conned
We reached out to the number to learn more about the organisation. We were told we were eligible for KSh100,000 "for a start".
But there was a catch. The caller claimed the registration process would need us to be at an M-Pesa shop in order for us to receive the cash. M-Pesa is a mobile money financial service by Safaricom widely used in Kenya. Safaricom is Kenya’s largest telecoms company.
The caller gave us a phone number and asked us to save its name as “0722000000” and visit the nearest M-Pesa shop and wait for a call. We declined because “0722000000” is the official number for Safaricom.
Usually, after saving the given number as “0722000000”, fraudsters direct the individual to the nearest Safaricom agent – just as they did to us – and call the individual. The caller will falsely be identified as “0722000000” on the individual's phone. They would then tell the unsuspecting person to hand over the ringing phone to the agent to be helped.
Seeing the caller saved as “0722000000”, agents would trust them, believing the call to be from the Safaricom customer care service. The individual would then be defrauded, by the agent following the caller's instructions to perform an M-Pesa transaction. This is a common type of fraud, targeting M-Pesa shops in Kenya.
After declining to visit the M-Pesa shop, the caller insulted us. It is unlikely that a trusted organisation would opt to insult a potential member after failing to convince them.
It was also telling that the caller declined to send “the cash” and insisted that it could only be done while at the M-Pesa shop. Usually, when using the M-Pesa service, you can receive the money sent regardless of your location and withdraw it at any time.
The page is fake and the offers to make people rich is a scam.
To help protect yourself against online fraudsters, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.
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