by Emmanuel Oluwadola
A circulating post on Whatsapp groups has claimed that MTN and Airtel are giving free 10GB of data and N5,000 airtime to their customers to celebrate the Nigerian Chef, Hilda Baci’s Guinness World Record of longest cooking time.
The post which was received on May 17, 2023) with a registered link (https://bit.ly/10GB-MTN-AIRTEL-FREE-DATA) attached stated that customers should “hurry now and grab this offer”
The post reads:
“MTN AND AIRTEL CELEBRATE NIGERIAN CHEF, HILDA BACI, FOR BREAKING GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR LONGEST COOKING TIME
MTN AND AIRTEL are giving their customers 10gb free data and ₦5,000 Airtime in Celebration of HILDA BACI THE NIGERIAN CHEF FOR BREAKING GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR LONGEST COOKING TIME
Hurry now and grab this HILDA BACI CELEBRATION offer
However, the website claimed to have a total number of 48,000 comments, 44,000 shares and 196,000 likes as of the time of filing this report.
We checked other social media platforms to detect how viral and widely shared the link had gone. On Twitter, some users had posted the same Hilda Baci free data and airtime link here and here.
On Facebook, we found the same claim by some users here with 25 likes, 2 comments and here.
ROUNDCHECK further went to verify the authenticity of the claim.
Who Is Hilda Baci?
Hilda Effiong Bassey, popularly known as Hilda Baci, recently broke the record of the Indian Chef, Lata Tondon who set a Guinness World Record of 87 hours and 45 minutes for the longest cook-a-thon feat in 2019. Hilda Baci reportedly reached 100 hours and 40 minutes of cooking.
Having obtained the claim, ROUNDCHECK visited the website and followed all the step-by-step processes involved. The first step on the page required the applicant to click on a blue icon to “Get data”.
The first red flag was that the application link had a URL with (“https://bit.ly/10GB-MTN-AIRTEL-FREE-DATA“). That cannot be a traceable website.
On the next page, one could not skip the first instruction to input the mobile number but one could skip the second option to select one network by just clicking on the green send icon.
The last page which congratulates applicants on their eligibility, asks them to click on the share button and share the link on 5 groups or with 15 friends on WhatsApp before proceeding to activate their reward.
We discovered that if applicants refuse to share it in groups or with friends but keep navigating back, the progress bar increases itself to 100%.
At the end after clicking the activate button, we were directed to a lucky draw to win 10 million naira on a website page.
All these actions make the website suspicious. We did more research by scanning the website using Scamadviser and found it to be more suspicious.
Although the trust score of the website is 100%, the identity of the website is hidden on Whois, it changes to ‘bit.com’.
We also discovered that several spammers and scammers use the same registrar as the website. Meanwhile, we noticed that the web keeps changing links with one click. It changed from a lucky draw page to a Bet9ja page that asked people to open an account.
Checking MTN and Airtel Websites, Social Media
ROUNDCHECK carried out thorough findings on MTN and Airtel’s official websites. We did not find such free offers coming from these telecommunication companies.
We further visited the official webpages of MTN and Airtel, unfortunately, there was no information assuring customers free data or airtime to celebrate Hilda Baci’s Guinness World Record. MTN‘s social media accounts have no such claim.
The only post on Airtel’s Facebook page was made on May 15th, 2023, cheering Hilda Baci to set her record but no free data or airtime offer was attached.
The circulating post which claimed that MTN and Airtel are giving out free 10GB of data and 5,000 airtime to celebrate Hilda Baci’s cook-a-thon Guinness World Record is INCORRECT. It is a hoax created to scam unsuspecting members of the public.
This fact-check report was done by one of the volunteers under the 3rd cohort of the ROUNDCHECK Volunteer Network.
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