Is This Promotion Promising up to 50,000 in a Youth Empowerment Program Genuine?

This link circulating on WhatsApp advertises a youth empowerment program claiming to promise cash awards of up to 50,000 to participants.

Participants are first required to fill a survey on their age, the amount they wish to be awarded and their employment status before they are directed to share the link to 10 WhatsApp groups- a step that would apparently verify that the participants are not robots. Completing this step of sharing widely would supposedly lead them to the withdrawal page where they can redeem the cash prizes.

Background

The steps required for this promotion replicate those Piga Firimbi has numerously debunked in fake advertisements . Such include a fake promotion implicating the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (see screen-grab below).

Another scam debunked involved offering fake COVID-19 Emergency relief funds, in addition to fake promotions claiming to have come from Safaricom, Co-operative Bank and the East African Breweries Limited. Such links expose participants to phishing scams.

Verification

An internet search of the Youth Empowerment and Development Organization (YEDO) showed results of this Facebook page that was created in 2019. Information on this page states that YEDO is a South-Sudan based NGO. The last post seen on this page was published on June 12, 2019. The page does not contain the promotion circulating on WhatsApp.  At the same time, the website attached to the YEDO Facebook page is no longer online.

screenshot of https://www.facebook.com/youthempowermentanddevelopmentorganization/?ref=page_internal

A reverse image search also revealed that the photo of a man holding bundles of money is from a tweet posted on the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs account on April 2, 2020. The image shows a Nigerian government official amid a program set to disburse COVID-19 relief funds to financially-vulnerable citizens.

Further findings on a fact-check published by Africa Check state that the promotion is characteristic of an engagement bait scam.

Verdict

The promotion promising up to 50,000 in a youth empowerment and development program is FAKE.

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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Linda Ngari