A message making rounds on Whatsapp and Facebook claims that the Government of Kenya (GOK) is supposedly offering funds worth Ksh8,000 to all citizens.
The message contains a link where the funds are to apparently be redeemed.
Piga Firimbi found that there has been a surge in online scams and conmanship during the COVID-19 pandemic and published a report on this. The report cites that scammers often targeted Africans with campaigns presented as fake Covid-19 relief packages in order to harvest personal information such as bank details which could be used for further social engineering attacks and financial crime.
These fake Covid-19 relief package scams have come up several times and include a fake Ksh4,100 disbursement claim that went viral in February 2021 as well as a message which falsely claimed to direct citizens on how to redeem Ksh3,300 allocated by the government.
This video shows how you can avoid falling victim to such quacks.
The alleged Ksh8,000 disbursement message has not been published on any official government communication platforms or announced on local media.
A WHOIS search of the link attached to the message reveals that the website was registered on February 19, 2021 which is around the same time that the message began circulating. Information regarding the organization behind the website appears to have been hidden using WhoIsGuard, which is uncharacteristic of legitimate government websites. WhoIsGuard is a privacy protection service that prevents people from seeing the name, address, phone number, email address and other personal information of a domain registrant.
Another red flag is a request to fill in one’s phone number, which is apparently meant to ensure that the applicant is shortlisted for the funds.
The claim that the Government of Kenya is issuing Ksh8,000 to citizens is FALSE.
Note: User data previously collected in such dubious circumstances has been used in spam campaigns in addition to being used to enroll unsuspecting users to premium-rate messaging services that cost them money. For your own safety, please refer to WhatsApp’s recommended safety measures.