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Is Coca-Cola giving away prizes?

Avatar: Rehobot Ayalew
Rehobot AyalewJune 7, 2021
HAQCHECKCurrent AffairsFact checking
Is Coca-Cola giving away prizes?

A website link, by the name “Coca Cola Welfare Fund”, has been circulating on emails, social media, and messaging apps. The links, which started to gain traction on June 6, invite you to fill a survey to get a prize. One of the purported prizes is an iPhone 12 mobile phone. HaqCheck has become aware of the content and interrogated it, confirming it is a scam.


HaqCheck has observed that when you try to open the link with your computer, you mostly get an alert message saying “the link may be malicious”.


But when it opens on a mobile phone browser the reader is sent to the home page in Amharic that reads: “Congratulations! 20th anniversary of Coca-Cola!”. As shown below, there are different links with a different date in the picture but with the same content. The home button and the logo on the site also don’t work. when pressed
 

The comments are written in Amharic in order to push the Ethiopian reader into believing the scam. Most of the posts claim you won the prize. It is also apparent that the names of the people who are commenting are not consistent, most of them written in Amharic but using Western names.


Coca-Cola was first bottled in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa in 1959 by the Ethiopian Bottling Share Company, which later opened a second branch in Dire Dawa in 1965. 

The two plants were nationalized in 1975 and ran as public companies until 1996 when they were bought by private investors. Just prior to that, in 1995, the Coco-Cola South African Beverage Company (Coca-Cola SABCO) bought shares in the business and in 1999 signed a joint venture agreement with the plants. 

In 2001, Coca-Cola SABCO increased its shares to 61 percent and the company changed its name to the East African Bottling Share Company.

Scammers use online surveys to scrape sensitive personal or financial information. This data can be used to commit identity theft or to be sold to a third party. Either way, they're making money. 

Most of the time they use malicious links which are created to promote scams, attacks, and frauds. By clicking on an infected URL, malware can be downloaded such as a Trojan or virus which can then take control of your devices. You also might be persuaded to part with sensitive information on a fake website. Phishing, the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, is another popular tactic to get you to give up passwords or personal information about yourself.

The Coca-Cola scam has been tried multiple times in different countries and occasions. HaqCheck has contacted Coca-Cola Ethiopia, via phone, and asked about the viral link claiming to be a Coca-cola welfare fund. 

We have confirmed that the link circulating on email, social media, and messaging apps is a scam and has not been promoted by Coca-Cola.

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A PIECE BYRehobot Ayalew

Rehobot is an enthusiastic, proactive & ethical young woman, who is a lead fact-checker at HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe & its CSO partner Inform Africa. She is a graduate of Economics from Ambo University. She loves volunteering in community services & aspires to make the world a better place in whatever she does.