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Viral loan offers from Facebook account ‘John Belt’ are scams – don’t be conned

IN SHORT: The loan offers from this Facebook account have attracted thousands of inquiries from Facebook users. But beware, they are all scams.

The Facebook account John Belt claims to offer different kinds of loans to Facebook users.

It says the loans available can be used for business, rent, bills, emergencies and school fees.

The account’s posts have featured prominently on different Facebook groups with thousands of members.

Its posts are accompanied by photos of wads of cash that include Kenyan shillings as well as US dollars.

Some of the posts that have attracted thousands of engagements were posted on different dates here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Facebook has flagged these posts as potentially false. But are they? We checked.


Activation fee scam

The account has posted loan offers since 2022 but has only one activity on its timeline a profile picture update, not a loan offer. This is the first red flag since we would expect that accounts and pages of genuine businesses have active timelines advertising their products or offerings and don’t target Facebook groups only. 

The account is not linked to any website and requires users to engage on WhatsApp. This is also suspicious since genuine financial institutions usually link to websites or apps where customers can get more information about their activities and transact.

To determine the authenticity of the account, we texted the WhatsApp number listed, asking for a loan. We were told that each loan amount required an “activation fee”. This is a clear sign of a scam.

But to be completely sure, we sent KSh100 (US$0.67) as bait to the number and asked how large a loan we qualified for. We were told that we would receive a KSh900 ($6) loan in “three minutes only”. Immediately after paying, our calls went unanswered and minutes later, our contact was blocked.

The account is fake and its loan offers a scam. Read our guide on how to spot Facebook scams here.

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