A professional hacker with laptop.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the economy. Even though the country has been partially reopened, some sectors have continued to suffer. Many Kenyans have lost their businesses and jobs while others have had to take a pay cut.

Amid all these, cases of fraud have been on the increase.  

Here are some of the ways cons have devised to scam Kenyans.

Forex Trading

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) not too long ago warned Kenyans of the re-emergence of fraudulent and unlicensed financial schemes seeking to take advantage of unsuspecting citizens. In a statement, the CBK said the rogue entities include online pyramid schemes, unlicensed credit and savings schemes and unlicensed online forex brokers and traders.

Such entities promise customers huge returns but most are not licensed or regulated.

“Some have styled themselves as online global networking companies that seek to recruit members of the public to join and make cash deposits purportedly to buy shares in the company. Other fraudulent unregulated entities styling themselves as online foreign exchange brokers and traders have also emerged,” read the statement.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) highlighted the case of James Chege Kinuthia, who was arrested in Nairobi’s Utawala area for suspicion of using different online platforms to con Kenyans.

According to the DCI, Chege and his colleagues used JijiPay, WhatsApp and emails to appeal to buyers of containers that can be used for business but once he receives payment he vanishes.

Wangiri Fraud

Have you ever received a call from an unknown foreign number that only rang once? Did you return that missed call? If you have, chances are that you might have lost money. Wangiri fraud is the term used to describe the 'one ring and cut' calls that fraudsters use to con people with hopes of making a profit.

According to the DCI, fraudsters use the 'One Ring to Rule Them All,' where they call numbers and immediately disconnect with hopes that curious people will return the call.

The scammers use phone numbers bought on the dark web, which they use to ring other numbers.

"Wangiri Scam relies upon one's innate curiosity. Many people would instinctively return a missed call, even from a mysterious international number. And the repetitive nature of the scam adds to the intrigue and pressure,” said the DCI.

He added; “The aim of the scam is to encourage those who get a missed call to ring the number, after which they will be ripped off as the call will be re-routed to premium rate number overseas and will be subsequently billed exorbitant sums for listening to pre-recorded messages.”

The DCI warned Kenyans that getting a Wangiri call meant the scammers had specifically targeted them. This is because the fraudster might have generated a missed call to go to several phone numbers, including yours.

Kenyans who have fallen trap by the Wangiri fraud and returned the calls were urged to call their mobile service providers and explain the issue so that they can block the numbers.

Conning financial institutions by changing logbook details

It has emerged that there is a group of crafty individuals who have perfected the art of conning financial institutions by accessing loans using false details.

According to investigations, the suspects have made close to Sh10 million in just under two months by getting details of the logbooks of car owners and collaborating with officials at NTSA to change ownership of your car.

They then approach microfinance institutions to secure loans and after the loan has been approved the suspects revert the car ownership details back to you, leaving you to deal with the loan repayment.

It is not yet clear whether they also work with insiders from financial institutions and motor vehicle valuers to present reports without physically examining the vehicles.

The suspects are also accused of using the names of influential people in government to con unsuspecting victims.?

Scammers in Kenya;Kenyan conmen