IN SHORT: Kenyan actor Yasmeen Saiedi’s stage name “Maria” appears to be a favourite for scammers who run bogus offers on Facebook. We expose three Facebook pages using the name to steal from unsuspecting users.
Each of the pages target public Facebook groups with thousands of members and try to convince them to initiate a private conversation to claim their “gifts”.
In the promotions, users are asked simple questions, such as identifying missing numbers from a list, mentioning names that start with certain letters of the alphabet, or wishing local celebrities a happy birthday.
But are the Facebook pages and the offers legit? We checked.
Fake Facebook pages
We checked Saiedi’s verified Instagram account, which has over 781,000 followers, and found no offers like the ones on Facebook. It’s unlikely that the actor would run the promotions on less popular Facebook pages and not on her Instagram account, where she has a large following.
We also noted that each of the Facebook pages had very little activity on their timelines. This suggests they were created for running the promotions on Facebook groups. Most celebrities in Kenya use their pages to interact with fans, post photos and promote products.
The Facebook pages ask those who comment to reach out privately to claim their rewards. Africa Check has interacted with such posts before and we were told to pay an “unlocking” or “registration” fee for us to be awarded. This is usually an attempt to scam the public.
The pages and their offers are fraudulent.
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