IN SHORT: Kenya’s popular Fuliza overdraft service allows M-Pesa mobile money users to borrow up to KSh70,000. But can the actor Maria Yasmeen boost this amount to KSh100,000? No, the Facebook page is a scam.
The Facebook page “Maria Yasmeen” is offering to boost the borrowing limit on Kenya’s popular Fuliza overdraft service to KSh100,000 in just two minutes.
The page uses the name and a photo of actor Yasmeen Saiedi, who played the main character in Kenya’s popular TV drama series Maria. The show aired on Citizen TV. It also features photos of Sarah Hassan, another Kenyan actor.
The Fuliza overdraft service is run by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms company, in partnership with two of the country’s biggest 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 10 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 more than 235,000 members.
On 17 February, Africa Check debunked a similar Facebook page offering fake promotions.
Is this another scam? We checked.
Fake Facebook page
We checked Saiedi’s verified Instagram account, which has over 761,000 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.
The page was created on 22 July 2022 to run these promotions on Facebook groups. It seems highly unlikely that it 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.
So it’s highly suspicious for the page to say all users with a Safaricom SIM card can apply for the offer.
The company has also specified that the minimum a person can send using the Fuliza service is KSh1, and the maximum KSh70,000. So the promise of raising the limit to KSh100,000 is a big red flag.
The company has advised customers who want a higher loan limit to keep transacting on their M-Pesa account and to repay their loans on time.
All signs point to a fake Facebook page with scam offers.
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