A purported reward program for ‘loyal Safaricom customers’ that is being shared on social media is FAKE and, actually, a SCAM.
The promotion, designed for sharing on WhatsApp, redirects those who click on the link to a phony website, www.Safaricomreward.com. The prize money of Ksh3,800 is very enticing in these hard economic times and thus attracting many recipients to click.
The website hoodwinks recipients by asking them to check if their zone has been selected for the “Safaricom’s Loyal Customer Prize”.
This is immediately followed by an acknowledgment that it is indeed shortlisted, and the user is requested to enter his/her phone number.
To look genuine, the user interface uses Safaricom corporate logo and colours. After “verification” users are asked to download an app to facilitate receiving the cash with ‘Android’ and ‘iPhone’ options. But clicking on the link redirects to affiliate links promoting forex trading.
That’s when most users realize, too late in the process though, that there is no money but purely a trick to get them to click links (which earns those behind the scheme money) and to collect people’s phone numbers for marketing purposes.
A search on Whois.net, the international domain registry, shows the domain Safaricomreward.com is hosted on Namecheap Server. The website was registered on 23rd September 2020, the same day the owners of the domain started running the promo.
WHOis.net domain search results for safaricomreward.com Domain Name: SAFARICOMREWARD.COM Registry Domain ID: 2561476467_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.namecheap.com Registrar URL: http://www.namecheap.com Updated Date: 2020-09-23T05:08:53Z Creation Date: 2020-09-23T05:08:32Z Registry Expiry Date: 2021-09-23T05:08:32Z
Safaricom distanced itself from the promotion and website, warning the public that it is a scam. “Don’t be fooled, we always communicate any promotions via our official social media channels,” the company said on its verified Facebook page and Twitter accounts.
Safaricom said it was not running any such promotion and urged customers to be on the watch out for fraudsters and scammers. The company said its promotions are communicated through its official channels on Social Media.
By 24th September morning, the site had gone offline after Safaricom intervened.
A new domain, however, emerged by 24th evening, safaricomrewardke.com, hosted on the same Namecheap server.
The SAFARICOMREWARDKE.COM registration redirects to www.exness.com, a forex trading platform. Clicking the arrow to revert to the previous page before completing the ‘registration’ process opens numerous affiliate websites.
Whois.net domain search for Safaricomrewardke.com Domain Name: SAFARICOMREWARDKE.COM Registry Domain ID: 2561750791_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.namecheap.com Registrar URL: http://www.namecheap.com Updated Date: 2020-09-24T13:38:35Z Creation Date: 2020-09-24T13:38:19Z Registry Expiry Date: 2021-09-24T13:38:19Z Registrar: NameCheap, Inc. Registrar IANA ID: 1068 Registrar Abuse Contact Email: [email protected] Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.6613102107 Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited (https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited) Name Server: DNS1.NAMECHEAPHOSTING.COM Name Server: DNS2.NAMECHEAPHOSTING.COM
Inquiries to Namecheap for the identities of the owner(s) of the website did not yield fruit. “Please be assured that we will investigate the matter you reported and take action based on the results of our investigation,” the Legal Department responded in an email to Business Today. “Please also be aware that, while Namecheap investigates every complaint, we cannot always respond with the results of the investigation and your ticket might be closed accordingly.”
Before these two, there was Safaricomspin.com, which operated on the same principles.
Safaricom is not running the reward programme and the promotions on safaricomreward.com and safaricomrewardke.com are, therefore, a FRAUD to harvest phone numbers from the public and get them to click on the websites’ owners affiliate links, thus promoting their online marketing businesses.
[ This story was produced by Business Today in partnership with Code for Africa’s iLAB data journalism programme, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.]