IN SHORT: Brian Ogana, the star of the popular Kenyan TV drama Maria, has hundreds of thousands of Facebook followers. He has no reason to run another Facebook page offering dodgy mobile money loan extensions.
The Facebook page “Luwi Hausa Ogana” is offering to boost the borrowing limit for Kenya’s popular Fuliza overdraft service from zero to KSh100,000 in just two minutes.
The page uses the name and photos of actor Brian Ogana, who played lead character Luwi Hausa in Kenya’s popular TV drama series Maria.
Fuliza is an overdraft service run by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms company, in partnership with two of the country’s biggest banks.
It allows M-Pesa mobile money users to complete a transaction even if they don’t have enough funds in their accounts.
One of the page’s posts, dated 22 January 2023, reads: “Don't stress yourself about SCHOOL FEES or RENT or even starting a business na uko na SAFARICOM line inbox nikuboostie fuliza from 00 to 100k in 2 minutes hii January hakuna stress don't be left behind.”
The Kiswahili translates as: “If you have a Safaricom SIM card, reach out to me via inbox so that I can boost your Fuliza limit from zero to KSh100,000 in two minutes. There is no stress this month of January.”
The page then tells Facebook users to reach out on WhatsApp, using the number 0721632348.
But is the Facebook page and its offers legit?
Ogana’s real Facebook page followed by 800,000
Facebook allows public figures such as Ogana to verify their pages with the “blue tick” verification badge.
Ogana’s official Facebook page – “Sir Luwi Hausa - Brian Ogana” – is verified. The page offering to boost the Fuliza borrowing limit is not verified.
The transparency section of Ogana’s verified page shows it was created on 30 September 2019. It has more than 800,000 followers.
The unverified page was created on 8 June 2022 and has about 3,000 followers.
It is unlikely that the actor would operate two Facebook accounts and dedicate one to financial services.
Africa Check made an initial attempt to send money to the number 0721632348, given on the unverified page, to get the name of the person it’s registered to. We found that the number belongs to one “Paul Rono” – not Brian Ogana.
And according to Safaricom, people registered as M-Pesa customers with their national identity cards can activate Fuliza – but not all are eligible for a loan limit upon activation. Asking all users with a Safaricom SIM card to try the offer is suspicious.
Asking people to contact a WhatsApp number to access a legitimate service available via more formal channels is a common sign of a scam.
To help protect yourself against online scams, see Africa Check’s guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.
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