The nature of financial scams in Kenya
09/19/2023 12:45 in Lifestyle

By Ronald Wese

"Hey, mum! Tunaanza exam na sina calculator na clip board. Naomba utumie teacher JOSEPH,1950 aninunulie. Mpigie na(07*******). You've probably come across these text messages. A common fraudulent trend among scammers. Most individuals end up falling prey to these vacuous means inducing them to incur losses in their day-to-day lives. 

Cases of scams and frauds have been soaring of late with the perpetrators devising new strategies and techniques based on technological trends to con Kenyans off their money. With their never-ending desperation, anyone can fall victim. 

Emmanuel Murono, a university student recalls how he once suffered at the hands of fraudsters. "As a second-year student, I urgently needed money for self-sustainability and I decided why not", he said.

Murono devised a plan of using his school fees to order and purchase equipment which he could subsequently use to generate money. After making payments, he expected the Ksh 60,000 machine to be delivered in two days' time. Shock dawned on him after the purported sellers could not be accessible within the timeframe. Before realizing he was dealing with scammers, his money was long gone. 

This is just but one of the ways these con artists use. How they manage to do it seems questionable to many mobile users. Here lies the answer. 

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a scam means to cheat somebody in order to get something, especially money from them. Basically, you are hoaxed into permitting a withdrawal or transfer of your account with your consent. A trick-like affair. 

With new ways of sending money and making payments, con artists do not hesitate to exploit loopholes. In common instances, they use urgent messages which manipulate your emotions expecting you to act quickly. They dispatch these messages to many mobile users which increases their odds and boosts their chances. 

Alternatively, once scammers have access to your personal details including your PIN, Identification number, and Date of Birth, they are able to register an existing number in order to intercept passwords and online banking profiles. With this sensitive information, they can easily clear the victim's wallet very fast and also take loans using the victim's account, depositing them into their account. 

In 2021, a FinAccess study found that 47.4% of mobile wallet users lost money to fraudsters. Out of 10, 7 people have erroneously sent money to the wrong recipients. 

The nature of financial scams in Kenya makes it strenuous to apprehend scammers. In a bid to curb this, the Communication Authority of Kenya has launched initiatives such as the re-registration of SIM cards to have a clean and precise registry. 

The security of your funds is solely your responsibility. To avoid this, avoid sharing your personal information with anyone, even people claiming to be from your bank or Safaricom.

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