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How fraudsters are scamming Kenyans during pandemic

By Sara Okuoro | April 20th 2020 at 13:30:00 GMT +0300

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has issued a fraud alert warning Kenyans on what to look out for to avoid being scammed and robbed.

1. Phishing

You’ve probably received messages directing you to links where you can access free airtime, money and other products. You may have clicked on the links and either landed on a dead end or had to fill in a form with your details only to be disappointed by not receiving the promised incentive. If this has happened to you, are most likely a victim of a phishing scam.

Phishing is basically a cybercrime in which a target is contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.

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The DCI has asked Kenyans to beware of phishing scams.

“Members of the public are hereby WARNED that criminals are using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam them through circulation of phishing emails purporting to sell non-existent items and messages that are accompanied by links that purport to offer free goodies like data bundles, money, airtime among other things,” says DCI.

“Messages accompanying such links are enticingly packaged with captivating words meant to prompt potential but unsuspecting victims to click onto them with a promise of getting something declared therein. Such links have largely been found to be infected with malware that triggers mining of personal information, passwords, photos, contacts among other valuables that are subsequently used to extort, for cyber bullying, stealing of finances among other ills.”

2. Online shopping

The DCI has also urged Kenyans to be on the lookout for online shops that could use their information for fraud purposes.

“In other instances, online shops purporting to sell sanitizers, PPE including facemasks and shields are on the rise. As payments for such items are being made, we urge more vigilance hence discourage use of Free Wi-Fi, purchase of substandard items, fraud, particularly haring financial & personal information,” says DCI.

3. Home deliveries

As quarantine and curfew measures set in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 took effect, more people have opted to purchase their essentials online and then have them delivered to their doorsteps.

DCI has urges Kenyans to be more vigilant and avoid being robbed saying, “For door step deliveries, we warn that some may be done by criminals, who deliver products that are treated with sleep inducers and/or drugs meant to stupefy, after which victims may lose their valuables.”

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