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Ignore Facebook account impersonating ex-Kenyan governor Mike Sonko to offer loans and other aid

IN SHORT: A Facebook account posing as former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko is offering loans and other assistance to Kenyans, exploiting the former governor's philanthropic image. But be warned, it is fake and may be out to scam you.

The Facebook account Hon S Mbuvi is offering loans, barber shop equipment, tuk-tuks, motorbikes and school fees to Kenyans.

The account uses the name and photos of Kenyan politician Mike Sonko. Sonko was governor of Nairobi between 2017 and 2020.

One of its posts reads: “CONTINUE IGNORING Today list those who took it serious are moses kinyua.... 70,000sh vincent muoka.... kinyozi equipment Catherine achieng ..... tuktuk mirriam kaberi..... 70,000 mary njeri ..... motorbike Riam karani...... 150,000 Am giving out the following only if interested ... first come first served  I need last 4 people for today capital 150,000 each tuktuk Motorbike school fee All the best.”

Despite a controversial career, Sonko has cultivated a strong following among underprivileged Kenyans. His philanthropic efforts have helped many.

To amplify its message, the account has posted similar messages in groups with tens of thousands of followers. These include here, here, here, here and here.

But is this account and its offers legitimate? We checked.

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Fake loan offers

Users who respond to these posts are asked to send a private message using Facebook Messenger. This may be an attempt to scam them or steal their personal information.

Sonko’s verified Facebook page had more than 2.7 million followers before it was suspended in March 2023. This was mentioned by Sonko on his X (formerly Twitter) account and was reported in the local media.

Sonko’s Instagram page, which had over 1.3 million followers, was also suspended after he shared a controversial post containing an explicit video of sexual assault. He urged members of the public to lynch the suspects for a hefty fee.

The suspicious account has very little activity, but regularly posts in Facebook groups. This is an indication that it may be fake and has been created to scam people.

To protect yourself, read our guide on how to spot Facebook scams.

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