Ksh20K Covid-19 Scam Hits Kenyan WhatsApp Groups

  • A file image of a WhatsApp user
    A file image of a WhatsApp user
    File
  • Kenyans have been warned against a group of online fraudsters who are reportedly snaring unsuspecting citizens into registering for fake food distribution programme. 

    As Kenyans grapple with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, several scams have emerged with a goal of defrauding unsuspecting Kenyans of their hard-earned money.

    The messages are being circulated on WhatsApp groups with a promise of getting money from a fictitious Covid-19 relief fund.

    It is important to be aware and not to fall for the schemes which may cost you money and your personal information.

    The latest scam is one that is claiming to be run by the Uhuru Kenyatta Foundation, an organisation that Kenyans.co.ke has established does not exist.

    The WhatsApp forward shared in many groups
    The WhatsApp forward shared in many groups

    "FG has finally approved and have started giving out free Khh20,000 Relief Funds to each citizen. Below is how to claim and get your credit Instantly as I have just done now (Link to the scam website)" reads a WhatsApp forward.

    The notice further urges, "You can only claim and get credited once and it's also limited so get your now Instantly."

    The fraud website is asking users to submit personal information including name, contacts, and identifiers before getting access to any relief materials. 

    The scam will ask some questions
    The scam website will ask some questions

    The website also requires users to make a payment which is ranging between Ksh10,000 and Ksh20,000 that must be paid before getting the relief foods. 

    Upon completing the questions, applicants are directed to share the message several times before being allowed to proceed to the next step.

    When done with that, the website asks for personal information including name and bank account details. 

    This is clearly a data-mining scheme which many may fall for with the hope of getting money.

    The final page of the scam.
    The final page of the scam

    IT Expert Brian Muuo observes that such scams have become common during the Covid-19 period. 

    "Most of these scams mine for information. Some of these links, automatically install malware on your computer or mobile device. 

    "So people should avoid these schemes no matter how attractive they look. You might end up losing personal information and even money," he advised.

    As a rule of thumb in combating fake news, it is recommended to only share information that is verified.