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Exposing three fake Facebook accounts offering bogus loans in the name of mobile banking product M-Shwari

IN SHORT: Scammers are increasingly using the names of established brands to promote non-existent loans. We expose three Facebook accounts run by the same person offering bogus loans.

The Facebook accounts MSHWARI SOFT LOANS, MSHWARI SOFT LOANS and MSHWARI SOFT LOANS are offering loans of up to KSh250,000 (about US$1,876) to Kenyans on Facebook. 

The three accounts use the name and logo of M-Shwari, a mobile product that allows customers to save and borrow money through their mobile phones. It was created through a partnership between M-Pesa, a mobile financial service by Kenya’s largest telecoms company, Safaricom, and NCBA Bank.

The accounts claim that the loans are paid out within five minutes of applying. Users simply need to initiate a conversation with the accounts using the word “LOAN”.

The adverts have been posted on the accounts’ timelines here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. They have also been posted on public Facebook groups with thousands of members here, here and here.

But are the offers and the accounts legit? We checked.


Imposter accounts

The accounts don’t link to the Safaricom or NCBA Bank websites. They do not link to any website. Reputable lenders usually have websites or apps where customers can get more information and apply for loans.

All three accounts ask users to contact the same number “01-06-833-122”, which means they’re most likely run by the same person. 

It is unlikely that a real company would have three different accounts and post the same adverts over and over again. We also noticed that the number was not among those listed on the websites of Safaricom and NCBA Bank.

To open an M-Shwari account, users need to be registered on M-Pesa. They don't need to go to a bank, fill out any forms or contact anyone on Facebook to get a loan. 

To access a higher credit limit, Safaricom advises customers to continue saving on M-Shwari and to repay their loans on time.

The three accounts are fake and their loan offers are bogus.

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