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Scam alert! Kenyans, beware of Facebook pages promising to recruit you into the Illuminati

IN SHORT: In tough economic times, desperate Kenyans may be tempted by organisations promising outlandish benefits. But these Facebook pages making claims in the name of the Illuminati are not to be trusted.

Two newly created Facebook pages with almost similar names – The only way to join illuminati kenya 0751491344 and The only way to join illuminati 0751491344 – claim to be recruiting Facebook users into the Illuminati.

According to the Vox news website, the Illuminati is a popular conspiracy theory, referring to “shadowy cabals that supposedly control the world”. It adds that “it used to be a very real group with ambitious goals” but “doesn't exist anymore”.

The BBC news agency has also discussed it, calling it “the conspiracy theory to dwarf all conspiracy theories”. 

In Kenya, the term often refers to what is believed to be a network of devil worshippers who practise human sacrifice in exchange for wealth. Scammers often take advantage of the misconceptions surrounding the term to scam desperate users.

To lure users, the pages have posted photos of wads of cash, high-end vehicles and provocatively dressed women here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But are the pages and their offers to be trusted? We checked.


Common signs of fraud

The two pages have a similar contact and an almost similar name. This is strange, as a genuine organisation would normally have only one Facebook page.

The Facebook “page transparency” section of the first page shows that it was created on 17 January 2024 under the category “grocery store”. The second page was created on 9 January under the category “health/beauty”. The fact that both are new and have no category that accurately describes their activity is questionable.

Both pages are not linked to any website and users are asked to seek information through a WhatsApp number provided. This is also a red flag, as legitimate organisations would usually have social media pages linked to functioning websites.

When we called the phone number, the owner told us that we would be given KSh70,666 to welcome us to the organisation. But there was a catch. He told us to go to the nearest M-Pesa shop and that the money would be sent to the shopkeeper we found there. M-Pesa is a mobile money financial service by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecoms company. 

We declined as this is a common type of fraud in Kenya, where the scammer tries to trick the shop assistant. He gave us another option to join by paying KSh600, but we also refused.

These pages and their posts are all trying to scam Facebook users and should be avoided.

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