FACT CHECK: Dangote Foundation NOT giving out relief funds to individuals

CLAIM: Dangote Foundation is giving out N20,000 relief funds to individuals


FULL STORY: For the umpteenth time, viral messages on WhatsApp, an instant messaging app, claimed that Africa’s richest businessman, Aliko Dangote’s foundation is providing Nigerians with relief funds as part of efforts to ameliorate the hardship of coronavirus in Nigeria.

The post titled “Dangote Care Foundation Relief Funds for COVID-19 Funds” noted that N20,000 relief fund has been “approved for every citizen” and that they should “stay home” and “stay safe.”

The post which contains a link to a website also urged receivers to share the message to enable them win.

VERIFICATION: Checks on this website shows confusing information. While the banner photograph on the website showed N20,000, additional information on the website showed N15,000 was promised to Nigerians.

“Get your own ₦15,000 by filling the form below,” a portion of the website reads.

A cursory look at the website showed that the grantor, Dangote Care Foundation is different from the foundation run by the popular businessman, Aliko Dangote Foundation which donated N1.5 billion ($3.8 million) to the “Nigeria/United Nations COVID-19 Basket Fund.”

The website was further analysed using ScamDoc, a web tool that evaluates “digital identities” reliability (email address or website), to check its reliability. Analysis of the website showed that it has one percent reliability score.

The Dangote Industries Ltd alongside other top organisations in the country established the Coalition Against Coronavirus (CACOVID) at the onset of the pandemic. As at June 30, 2020, CACOVID has generated over N30 billion to provide support for government and households during the pandemic.

Further key phrase search on Google showed that the offer is not entirely new as different versions of this offer have been checked to be false here and here.

In distancing itself from this offer, Dangote Industries Ltd said that it is aware that fake offers have been instituted in the names of its chief executive officer while warning the public to be on the alert.

The message posted on Facebook said: “We have been alerted of a scam purportedly sanctioned by Aliko Dangote Foundation and claiming to pay people a weekly allowance of N20,000. This malicious act aimed at defrauding unsuspecting victims is currently being perpetuated through several channels including WhatsApp, emails, sms, and dedicated website.

“Please be aware that there is NO such initiative as the ‘Dangote Covid-19 Relief Funds.’ Our support towards curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria is through the organized private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) in Nigeria; an initiative being led by our Group President/CE.

“While we work towards shutting down the activities and accounts of these scammers, please be advised to contact law enforcement agencies in case you have made any contact with these scammers.

“Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is not true! #ScamAlert #Scam.”

CONCLUSION: It is not true that Dangote Foundation is providing COVID-19 funds to individuals outside the CACOVID. The public are enjoined to be cautious of scammers who are evolving and changing tactics to swindle Nigerians of their hard-earned money through phishing. Such messages are carefully tailored to attract and convince the public just as this one showed a fake rating card and customized number of benefiting members of the public

• This report, under the Information Saves Lives project, was done with support from Internews. Have you come across any suspicious COVID-19 claim or working COVID-19-focused solution, submit for verification using this submission form.

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