DCI Warns Kenyans of Ingenious COVID-19 Scam

  • Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti addresses the media on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
    Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti addresses the media on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has warned Kenyans about people taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to scam them out of their hard-earned money.

    In a statement on their social media platforms on Wednesday, April 15, the DCI warned about criminals masquerading as online marketers with the intent of stealing valuable information by luring unknowing customers with free gifts.

    "Members of the public are hereby warned that criminals are using the COVID-19 pandemic to scam them through the 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," the statement reads in part.

    The detectives announced that scammers had taken to using messages characterized by captivating words prompting the unsuspecting victim to click on a provided link, after which personal information is harvested by the crooks.

    An example shared by the DCI as a work of scammers luring Kenyans before stealing their data.
    An example shared by the DCI as a work of scammers luring Kenyans before stealing their data.
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    The DCI warned that such links have been found to be tampered with such that anyone clicking on it will lose valuable information including passwords, pins, contacts and other personal information without their knowledge.

    "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 cyberbullying, stealing of finances among other ills," the investigative agency warned.

    The DCI gave an example of a link which was posted on social media informing Kenyans that in the wake of the pandemic, the government had made the decision to gift all Kenyans with 200GB of data as they stay at home.

    The message had a link underneath that would purportedly lead the unknowing customer to where the free data could be claimed but in the process, they would have their personal information stolen.

    The sleuths further warned of other people masquerading as operators of online shops selling sanitizers, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) including facemasks and even shields

    They dismissed most of these businesses as fronts through which criminals could also harvest crucial information which could also be used to blackmail victims.

    "As payments for such items are being made, we urge more vigilance hence discourage the use of Free Wi-Fi, purchase of substandard items, and fraud, particularly sharing financial and personal information," Kenyans were warned.

    The DCI also warned that Kenyans should be keen when receiving home deliveries as some may be delivered by criminals who have treated the products with sleep inducers or drugs meant to stupefy, after which victims may lose their valuables.

    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke