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Kenyans, beware of this deceptive link promising free data to customers of telecoms company Airtel with old SIM cards

IN SHORT: Fraudsters use several methods to obtain people’s personal information on Facebook. In this case, Airtel customers are promised free data if they follow a few easy steps, but it’s all a scam.

A link offering free data to Airtel customers with old SIM cards has been posted on Facebook and WhatsApp groups in Kenya.

A SIM, also known as a subscriber identity module, is a smart card that stores identification information that links a phone to a specific mobile network.

Airtel is one of the largest telecommunications companies with over 140 million customers in Africa

According to the post, customers with SIM cards that are six months old will receive five gigabytes (GB) of data and those with a SIM card one year or older will receive 10GB.

The poorly written text accompanying the link reads: “AIRTEL OLD SIM CARD FREE DATA OFFER Airtel is Offering Free Data to all OLD SIM CARD 6 Month Old Sim - 5GB 1 Year and above - 10GB Hurry Now and check if your AIRTEL SIM CARD is eligible for this offer_FOR 6-MONTH SIM https://bit.ly/Airtel-Old-Sim-Card-Customers-Rewards _1 YEAR AND ABOVE SIM_https://bit.ly/Airtel-Old-Sim-Card-Customers-Rewards.”

The unprofessional site – airtel.old.customer.all-youth-program.xyz – does not look like that of Airtel Africa.

But is the link and its promise genuine? We checked.

FreeData_Scam

Engagement bait scam

We took the risk – not recommended – and opened the link to see if the offers were legit. 

It took us to a website where we were asked to enter our Airtel phone number and indicate the age of our SIM card. This was to check whether we qualified for the offer. 

We were congratulated and told that we were eligible. We were then asked to share the link with five groups or 15 friends on WhatsApp in order to receive the free data.

This is a classic example of engagement bait. These are usually social media posts that ask users to interact by liking, commenting or sharing. 

This increases the post’s reach but there is no reward. It is sometimes used to obtain the user’s personal information and even commit identity fraud.

Africa Check has looked into similar fraudulent posts in the past. To protect yourself against online scams, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

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