IN SHORT: Citizen TV’s Rashid Abdalla is one of the most popular news anchors in Kenya. But he’s also popular with fraudsters, who use his name and photos on Facebook to scam people.
The accounts ask users to answer simple questions to stand a chance of winning thousands of Kenyan shillings.
A typical post reads: “Mama John ako na watoto tano ,, Tata,Tete,Titi,Toto. mtoto wa tano ni nani Jibu ujishindie 35,000 Sasa hivi.”
This mix of English and Kiswahili translates to: “John’s mother has five children: Tata, Tete, Titi, Toto. Who is the fifth child? Answer and win yourself KSh35,000 now.”
But are the Facebook accounts and their offers to be trusted? We checked.
Fake Facebook accounts
The first sign the accounts are imposters are the misspelt names of the journalist on two of them and a missing second name, Abdalla, on the third. The correct spelling of his name is Rashid Abdalla.
We checked Abdalla's verified Instagram account, where he has 718,000 followers, and found no mention of such promotions. Similarly, no such posts appear on Hassan’s verified Instagram account, which has over 1.5 million followers.
It’s unlikely that either journalists would operate these Facebook accounts but not feature the promotions on their Instagram accounts, which have much larger followings.
The goal of posts like these is often to get users to engage with them by liking, commenting or sharing. This is a tactic known as engagement bait and is used to increase the reach of the posts.
Usually, users are eventually asked to send money as an “unlocking” or “registration” fee before they can receive their winnings. But they won’t be rewarded and will have lost their money. This is a common trick used by scammers in Kenya.
To help protect yourself against online fraudsters, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.
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