IN SHORT: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. That’s also the case for “774,000 empowerment opportunities” being advertised on social media across Africa.
A website claiming to offer funds through a “presidential youth empowerment scheme” is getting attention on Facebook and WhatsApp in a number of countries.
“The P-YES is aiming to create at least 774,000 empowerment opportunities through direct youth empowerment over a period of two years. Applicants are to fill the form below and click on Apply,” reads the text on the site.
The site’s homepage is headed “Presidential Youth Empowerment Fund”. It shows the flags and coats of arms of countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, India, Kenya and South Africa.
The site features an “application form” that asks for personal details such as name, phone number, country of residence and region. It also asks if the applicant has applied before.
The amateurish site – today.empower-online.xyz – has been posted on public groups with thousands of members in Kenya, Rwanda and Namibia.
The Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme or P-YES is a Nigerian public-private partnership run by the office of the president’s special assistant on youth and students’ affairs.
But is this website and information related to the partnership? We checked.
Usual engagement bait
It’s unlikely that legitimate government funds would be advertised on a badly designed website with poorly written text. The website is also suspiciously similar to a site we debunked in October 2022, also for a fake “Youth Empowerment Scheme”.
After viewing this site, we deliberately left the first and second page of the supposed application forms blank and just clicked “APPLY NOW”. Suspiciously, this allowed us to proceed to the last page where we were still congratulated for being approved to receive the funds.
The form then asked us to share the link “with 15 friends or 5 groups on WhatsApp” as the only way for the application to be valid.
This is simply engagement bait. These are usually social media posts that ask people to interact by liking, commenting or sharing. It increases the post’s reach but offers no reward. This may also be an attempt to steal valuable personal information.
Africa Check has uncovered plenty like this before, tempting desperate job seekers and students.
For more information on how to avoid online scams, particularly on Facebook, read our guide here.
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