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Nigerians, beware! These shady Facebook accounts using photos of sick people are out to scam you

IN SHORT: Africa Check frequently debunks Facebook accounts posting misinformation trying to scam people. These posts using disturbing photos and upsetting accounts of parents running out of money for their sick children's care are targeting Nigerians.

“A word from his DAD. I am writing this in tears, & i request only few seconds of your precious time to pray for my Son ( Emmanuel) & Also help him financially please," reads a post by a user in a public Facebook group.

The post, dated 9 June 2023, asks members in the group DIVINE MERCY 3 O'CLOCK DAILY PRAYER (HOUR OF MERCY) to send money to a bank account to treat an injured little boy.

It includes a photo of a young child sitting in a hospital bed with a bloody bandage around their head and what appears to be blood running from their ear. The post claims this injured boy needs treatment that costs N980,000. The post has over 700 comments, with some praying for the child's speedy recovery.

Similar posts can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

But are these messages to be believed? We checked.


Shady Facebook accounts

The Facebook account that made the post, Samuel Omigiri Paul, made a similar post in the same group on 5 June 2023. 

The account’s activity has been inconsistent since it made its first post in 2014, with less than six posts on its personal timeline since then.

Another user posted exactly the same message in another group. However, this post included a different photo of a different child from the one used here. This raises a red flag.

Same bank account holder

We found another worrying pattern in these posts. Several posts with the same format in different groups list the same Access Bank account number, apparently in the name "Johnson Phillip".

But we also found a similar post from 2021 using different photos of a sick child and listing a different account number under the same name. These are all scam posts, trying to play on users’ emotions with the aim of scamming them.

To help protect yourself against online scams, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

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