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No, Kenya's Inua Jamii programme does not offer loans – don’t be conned by fake Facebook account ‘HN Inua Jamii Initiative’

IN SHORT: Inua Jamii, the Kenyan government programme that provides cash grants to the poor and vulnerable, is often impersonated on Facebook. We expose another Facebook account that preys on the desperate and vulnerable.

The Facebook account HN Inua Jamii Initiative offers different types of loans to Facebook users.

The account uses the name “Inua Jamii”, which refers to the Kenyan government programme that gives cash grants to poor and vulnerable people. It’s a Kiswahili phrase that means “uplift the community”.

It claims that users can access between KSh5,000 and KSh950,000 (about US$31 to $5,900) “within 15 minutes” of applying. It also offers users what it calls “well-maintained used motorbikes” and cars for which they pay a deposit and then daily instalments.

The account has asked users to send a private message with their personal details, including name, identification number and phone number.

But are the offers on the account to be trusted? We checked.


Signs of a scam

We noted that the posts on the account were poorly written. They have randomly capitalised words and letters, odd punctuation and repetition. This is the first sign that they are not from a legitimate source.

While a government-run Facebook account or page would normally be linked to a functioning website, have an email address and display an active phone number, this account has none. It also expects users to submit their details via a private message on Facebook. This is uncharacteristic of a government-run institution.

The account tells users that they must pay a registration fee for each loan amount requested. This means that users must make an upfront payment to receive their loans. A reputable lender will never ask you to pay a certain amount before giving you a loan – many will build their cost of lending into the total amount paid to the customer.

The Inua Jamii programme has repeatedly stated that it does not provide loans, but rather cash grants. Therefore, the programme's official Facebook page does not post any loan offers.

All signs point to a fake Facebook account with scam offers.

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