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Exposing multiple mysterious Facebook accounts running fake promotions and offering cash rewards

IN SHORT: The names of these Facebook accounts all feature the word “Icon”. They also have another thing in common – they are all fake. Users should steer clear of them.

The Facebook accounts Icon Smart, Icon Maria, Smart Icon, Icon Citizen Smart and Smart Icon Ctz Gifts are running promotions on Facebook groups and offering generous giveaways.

The promotions include simple quizzes that require little effort to answer but promise cash rewards.

For instance, one of the Facebook accounts has congratulated users who “participated” in its promotions from the previous day. It then asks others to participate and stand a chance of winning KSh35,000 in cash (about US$233).

The accounts have used photos of local celebrities in their posts and have been published here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But are the accounts and the offers to be trusted? We checked.


Common scam in Kenya

We checked each of the posts by the accounts and noted they were similar to dozens of other social media posts that we have debunked before and found to be scams.

For instance, they ask users questions that require little to no effort to answer but promise them thousands of Kenyan shillings in return. It is unlikely that anyone would give hundreds of strangers on Facebook money just for responding to simple questions.

We checked the timelines of the Facebook accounts and saw they had very little activity on them. But suspiciously, they had posted promotions on Facebook groups with thousands of members. This is a clear indication that the accounts were created for the sole purpose of posting these offers and are not genuine.

The accounts have used photos of different celebrities on their posts to suggest they were the ones running the promotions and dishing out the cash. We checked the social media accounts of some of the celebrities used, such as Lulu Hassan, Rashid Abdalla and Mashirima Kapombe – all news anchors on Kenya’s Citizen TV. But we found no mention of such promotions.

Each of the accounts approaches those who comment and asks them to reach out privately to claim their rewards. Usually, this is an attempt to scam users as they will be asked to pay a “registration” or “unlocking” fee.

All signs point to fake Facebook accounts with scam offers.

Africa Check has exposed similar accounts in the past here and here.

To help protect yourself against online fraudsters, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

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