Fact Check

FALSE! MTN not giving out N10,000 to Celebrate 250 Million Subscribers 

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By Dauda Musbau

Claim: A broadcast message circulating on WhatsApp claims that MTN is giving out 10,000 naira airtime and 5GB data to eligible customers to celebrate 250 million followers in Africa.

Verdict: The claim that MTN is giving out N10,000 in airtime and 5GB in data is FALSE. Findings show that the website is a phishing site and MTN has offered more clarity.

Full text

A WhatsApp broadcast message is circulating, enticing MTN mobile network users with a purported reward tied to the alleged celebration of the company reaching “250 million followers.” Shared across multiple WhatsApp groups, the message encourages people to click on a link, claiming it will grant them access to 10,000 naira airtime and 5GB data. It’s essential to approach such messages with caution, as they often turn out to be scams designed to exploit users and compromise their personal information.

The message reads: “Are you using MTN? Check If you’re Eligible to get MTN N10,000 AIRTIME AND 5GB DATA Celebrating 250 million subscribers in Africa. Click https://slnkz.com/Get-bonus,” the claim reads.”

Screenshot of the claim on a Whatsapp group 

MTN recently made headlines when airtime loans taken by subscribers suddenly disappeared due to a technical glitch in MTN Nigeria’s system. Although many affected subscribers were relieved it happened, this incident raises questions about the credibility of the claim. FactCheck Africa has frequently observed similar claims that promise enticing offers but only serve to exploit unsuspecting victims by phishing personal data and infiltrating financial accounts. This is why FactCheck Africa is seeking to verify this claim and emphasize the importance of substantiating facts, as these misleading claims are often perpetrated by bad actors aiming to swindle unsuspecting individuals and gain access to their financial details.


When FactCheck Africa scrutinized the alleged website, preliminary points indicated it to be a phishing website. Simply, a clickbait that link that lures people to potential scam.

This is how it works: 

Clicking the link redirects users to a page where they are prompted to enter their phone number for eligibility verification of a claimed N10,000 airtime and 5GB data offer, allegedly available to 100 million users. Following this, users are instructed to share a link with 12 WhatsApp groups to claim the offer, resembling a common pattern seen in phishing websites.

The post includes simulated reactions, such as likes, 364 shares, and 180k comments, mimicking a Facebook post. These fabricated interactions aim to create a false sense of legitimacy and excitement, further contributing to the deceptive nature of the phishing attempt.

Screenshot of the phishing website after clicking the link

More findings 

When subjected to verification on WhoIs domain look up, the result shows that the website was registered on August 6, 2023 and was last updated on August 21, 2023. WhoIs is a site developed to investigate the website’s primary domain name. It searches databases for verified registration information like domain names, name servers, IP address history, ownership info web traffic and others.

Screenshot of the WhoIs domain search conducted on the phishing website

According to Statista, as of the third quarter of 2023, MTN’s overall subscribers have surged to approximately 291.7 million, contradicting the claim of MTN celebrating 250 million African subscribers in November 2023, which is false.

When this fact-checker contacted MTN’s customer service regarding the alleged offer, the operator clarified that MTN is presently not running any promotion that offers 10,000 naira in airtime and 5GB of data to commemorate reaching 250 million subscribers in Africa. The quote from the operator directly states:

“We are currently not doing a promotion offering N10,000 in airtime and 5GB of data to celebrate 250 million subscribers in Africa.”

Further warned users to be careful of phishing scams that use MTN as a front.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) defines phishing as a method where criminals use deceptive emails, texts, or calls to deceive victims, often directing them to websites aimed at downloading viruses or stealing personal information, including bank details.

Olasupo Abideen, a tech expert and the global director of Brain Builder Youth Development Initiative, stresses the importance of staying informed about phishing websites. He recommends creating a spam filter to enable Gmail accounts to identify and flag potential phishing emails.

Additionally, Olasupo advises vigilance when encountering offers that seem too good to be true, such as promises of free money or government promotions. He emphasizes the necessity of conducting background checks before clicking on any links to avoid falling victim to scams.


MTN has confirmed that there’s no such promotional offer. Phishing scams often exploit tempting offers like this to deceive unsuspecting users, leading them into ransomware attacks or financial scams. It’s crucial to stay cautious and verify any such offers before engaging with them to avoid falling victim to these malicious schemes.

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