You are probably scammed by a group of online fraudsters for mobile loans
Every month I keep stumbling across new instant mobile loan apps. Their popularity makes sense in a country that has made significant strides in mobile money products and the ease of access to these services. However, quick loans come at a high price: repayment is downright expensive (in their defense, institutions that grant loans to users don’t know them in person. It’s riskier to give you money anyway) and users must submit a substantial amount of information to the service’s algorithms that harness artificial intelligence (AI) to determine the limits.
In line with the benefits of online loans, unsuspecting users have somehow ended up submitting personal data to scammers claiming to offer instant funds. The latter program is run by a Facebook group called Inua Kinamama Loans and Okoa Loans which falsely offer loans in association with the Kenya Women Microfinance Bank (KWFT).
In a warning circulated in the print media, the bank alerted people to avoid the services of the groups mentioned.
We have since checked ‘Inua Kinamama Loans’ Facebook activities and true to KWFT’s disclaimer their posts are obviously shady.
For starters, the page appears to be marketing a service called JOYWO / JOYFUL Loans on a Google docs platform which is obviously not a website for the platform.
Here is a line from the home page of the form:
“The application process for Quick Installment Loans and Unsecured Personal Loans is online. The application form is present here on our website which you can access via the “next” link. All you need to do is enter brief details and submit the form for guaranteed approval. We accept full application forms 24 hours.
The next button displays conflicting requirements. For example, the Facebook group guarantees a maximum of 100,000 KES in loans, while the Google docs platform increases the amount to 150,000 KES.
Here’s another line from the eligibility section:
“After the request, a customer service agent will contact you and advise you further on any questions you may have and the details of the refund.”
Well, this is an online lending platform with a customer service agent who will call you to “ advise you further. ”
In addition, new applicants have to pay a fee of KES 330 which is “automatically refunded if you are not eligible for the loan”. Although the service charge is normal, the money is sent to a personal number rather than an invoice number.
It is easy for people who do not have an eye for the fine print to comply with these questionable requirements in the name of getting a loan fast. At the same time, submitting personal data to unnamed institutions is dangerous as such information can end up in the wrong hands.
It is alarming how scammers advance their vice with near-genuine tricks to fool unsuspecting people.