Claim: The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is issuing a $25,000 Grant to Africans with innovative ideas has gone viral.
The official website for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is www.uneca.org which was registered since 1997 by Network Solutions LLC, not www.unafrica.org which was registered only in June 2021 on GoDaddy.
An online message claims that the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is Issuing a $25,000 Grant to Africans with innovative ideas.
The WhatsApp message reads in part:
“B.I.S Grant 2021
“The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa B.I.S (Business. Idea. Startup) Grant awards $25,000 to Africans with innovative ideas, brilliant startups and growing businesses.
“5,000 participants would be selected to receive a grant of $25,000 in cash and $10,000 in training….participants must be between the ages of 16 – 65 and should have a valid national means of identification….
“Fill the form accurately and expect a feedback within 4-5 working days…DEADLINE: Friday, 24th September, 2021.*
“United Nations Africa is an intergovernmental organisation aiming to maintain international peace and increase the standard of living across Africa.
Some social media users claim they have applied but are yet to be contacted, why many others express doubt.
The website www.uneca.org is the number one result that pops up when a google and other search engine checks the key word “United Nations Economic Commission for Africa,” is conducted. This is followed by a Wikipedia profile of the commission as a second display of the search engine result of over one hundred and thirty nine million (139,000,000).
A click through the Wikipedia profile of the result displayed shows that the same website www.uneca.org was displayed as the official website of the commission.
After this initial check, this fact-checker then returned to the google search engine result and clicked on the news header but no result displayed any association with UNECA offering a $25,000 Grant to Africans with innovative ideas.
An integrity test was conducted on both the www.uneca.org which is the website that tops search engine results when checked and the www.unafrica.org which is the website that claims to be taking applications for the said grant, to check authenticity.
GoDaddy WhoIs Database search shows that the given site www.unafrica.org was registered only three months ago, precisely on June 2021 on GoDaddy, while www.uneca.org was registered since 1997 by Network Solutions LLC, 39 years after the commission was officially founded.
Credentials for the UNECA website include; Registry Domain ID: D226774-LROR, Registrar Network Solutions, LLC, Creation Date: 1997-03-11T05:00:00Z and Registry Expiry Date: 2026-03-12T05:00:00Z among others while credentials for the UNAFRICA website include Registry Domain ID: D402200000017314976-LROR, Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com, Creation Date: 2021-07-14T07:18:48Z and Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2022-07-14T07:18:48Z.
This shows that the website https://www.unafrica.org is a scam and was set up mainly for phishing purposes.
Fraudsters send fake emails or set up fake websites that mimic an original one to trick users into disclosing sensitive information. This practice is sometimes referred to as “phishing” — a play on the word “fishing.”
Typically, fraudsters try to trick users into providing their sensitive information such as usernames and passwords so that they can gain access to an online account. Once they gain access, they can use this personal information to commit identity theft, charge credit cards, empty bank accounts, read user emails among other abuses.
Further checks on the commission’s Facebook page shows the same www.uneca.org as its official website, and its Twitter handle and LinkedIn profile, did not have any information related to a $25,000 Grant.
Founded in 1958 (63 years ago) and headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA or ECA; French: Commission économique pour l’Afrique, CEA) was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to encourage economic cooperation among its member states (the nations of the African continent) following a recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly.
It is one of five regional commissions.
The ECA has 54 member states, corresponding to the 54 member states of the United Nations that lie within the continent of Africa and in islands around the continent.
Based on all information verification procedures by this fact-check including social media checks, online search and website database profiling, all information gathered points to the fact that the viral message is a SCAM.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with PRNnigeria to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.