No more 'jobs' for Nairobi conmen

By LIZZY OGOT | Thursday, Jun 11th 2020 at 16:05
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Let's be honest, we were all tired of these conmen in Nairobi. Somehow every cloud has a silver lining and every situation has its own pros and cons.

All along we've been talking about the negativity that has come with the pandemic but coming to think of it, it has done us some good. Nairobi has always been a magnet for scammers especially due to the vast number of people in the CBD.

Many streets became eerily empty and one could scarcely avoid seeing the emptiness. The famous Archives in town which was normally bustling became so quiet and desolate and its almost hard to recall what the crowds were like just a few months ago.

Despite these lockdown regulations, new tactics have emerged to con people out of their cash online so always be on the look out and do not fall prey to these delirious acts.

I vividly remember an encounter I had in Nairobi town. I was just from visiting anniversary towers to check on my helb status as I awaited to join my university. I’ve always been an extremely cautious lady, clinging to my bag as I walk briskly with a stern face.

I had thought that this would be enough to protect myself from the scammers, but I never considered those who use friendly tactics to steal from someone. In the long run, I became a victim. Never had I felt so stupid in my life. I can’t deny, I was young and naive so don’t blame me. Its okay to laugh though.

As I was walking from anniversary towers, a man approaches me and tells me how the officials at helb were rude to him. He told me he had also gone to check the helb status for his daughter. That’s how our conversation began.

We walked as he told me about himself, saying he was an agent at Safaricom and that If I want, he could top up some airtime to my phone. I was excited at the sound of airtime. I can’t forget to mention he even gave me his number and told me his name.

I was vulnerable because the conman was old and so to myself, I thought, well this man is genuine, I mean he couldn’t hurt a fly. How I wish I never talked to him. I still regret to date.

And that’s how we walked and on reaching a nearby Safaricom shop, he asked for my phone and I innocently give it to him, no forceful grabbing. And that’s how he vanished into thin air.

I waited for about 20 minutes and I even checked at the Safaricom shop he claimed to have entered but he never stepped a foot into it. Foolish me. Well of course I cried after losing my first phone barely two months after it was bought.

No one could help me afterwards. All they could say was ‘young lady, this is Nairobi, never trust a single soul’. Point is, I learnt a lesson almost every Tom, Dick and Harry in Nairobi has gone through. Do not talk to strangers at all costs.

Funny enough I still remember his face and every time I walk in town, I can’t help but look around if I can spot him and then insanely shout, ‘THIEF!’.

Since the lockdown, the streets are empty and there’s no one to con. We ought to thank God for this. I suppose now one can easily walk within the CBD without much fear as the population went down due to the lockdown.

Kenyans are already going through tumultuous times since the first Covid 19 case. Even as we slowly adopt to the new normal, stay safe and never stop being cautious about your surroundings.

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