The gas cylinders don’t exist. But Facebook users are invited to claim one by paying the scammers up to USh8,000.
The page was only set up on 5 August 2020 and has so far posted three messages with exactly the same wording.
“With the current situation being experienced in the country, we have come up with a program of giving out free gas cylinders to at least 200 homesteads in each ward across the country,” the posts read.
“Booking is done through our official website.” The messages then give a link, but it’s not to Total Uganda’s official website – ug.total.com. Instead, the link goes to a WordPress blog with the URL totalgasug.com.
The scam is revealed on the blog: “If your booking is approved then the fee will be used to deliver your gas cylinder. If you need the 6kg gas you book with Ugx 7000. If you need the 13 kg you book with Ugx . 8000.”
People are told to pay the “booking fee” via M-Pesa mobile money transfer.
Africa Check has exposed several other Facebook scams that offer users “free” gas cylinders – and more.
‘Dubious parties running promotion’
Total Uganda has posted a warning about scams like this.
“It has come to our attention that some dubious parties are acting as Total official authorised distributors and running a promotion to give out free gas cylinders,” the company said.
“Please note that this is in no way a Total Uganda Limited initiative and should be ignored by all. Total Uganda is currently NOT running any Total Gas promotion and members of the public should be vigilant when dealing with anyone that is not directly acting on behalf of Total Uganda.”
It then listed its social media handles, saying: “All Total Uganda promotions will be communicated through our official channels.”
To protect yourself against scams, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them. And report any suspicious Facebook pages or posts by using the “page transparency” section or clicking “report post” on the top right of any post. – Dancan Bwire
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