How I was conned: I only wanted to help out an old man

They say you are not a true Nairobian until you have been conned. A man shares how a smooth and sleek con artist effortlessly relieved them of their money.

Meshack Among’a 30, businessman

One fine day a few years ago, Meshack walked out of church into the nearby cash machine to withdraw Sh5000.  As he walked out, a man in cheap suit stopped him. He spoke a heavily accented English. " He sounded like he had just come from Meru." 

The man said he had won Sh 2 million on the Kenya Charity Sweepstake. Problem was, he did not know where the offices are. The ticket indicated that offices were somewhere along Moi Avenue. Meshack knew the building.

“He sounded convincing,” Meshack remembers. He promised Meshack some portion of money if he went with him to the offices and redeemed the ticket on his behalf. It was an enticing offer, and the man looked lost and afraid of being alone in the city.

 They walked down to Moi Avenue. The offices were supposed to be on the second floor of the crowded and poorly lit office building. Once there, the old man asked Meshack to give him a valued item to ensure he wouldn't run off with his winning ticket.  Meshack offered his ID, but the man didn’t think it was enough. Meshack gave him his wallet containing Sh 5,000 and his phone, and gingerly went up the flight of stairs. All he had to do was redeem the ticket and be richer for it.

However, where the offices were supposed to be, he met a befuddled group of stall owners who explained to him that there was a group of Meru men who were swindling people and directing them to the building.

" My knees went weak. But I knew he would be gone by the time I got there. I was truly angry. But I learnt a very good lesson that day."