Tricks Vendors Use to Sell Fake Electronics in Nairobi

  • File image of Kenyans pictured walking in the capital, Nairobi
    File image of Kenyans pictured walking in the capital, Nairobi
  • To survive in the unforgiving streets in Nairobi, one has to be street smart to avoid the hawk-eyed conmen and women.

    They wake up each morning with one intention, to make a shilling by any means necessary. has compiled a list of tricks conmen and women use to make away with Nairobians hard-earned cash.

    The new-look Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi.
    The new-look Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi.

    1. Swapping of electronics

    The vendors display a number of new electronic items in their shops, which will obviously be eye-catching to the shoppers.

    A buyer will select a phone or any other electronic item in the shop, bargain and pay on the agreed terms.

    However, if not vigilant, the vendor will make a switch, pack an electronic item that is not working and the shopper will only realise once they get home.

    2.) Creating of fake online social media pages

    Conmen are devising smart ways to swindle Kenyans off their money. The latest tactic used being creation of social media accounts that mirror some of the best online selling shops.

    Here, one selects an item of preference on social media and the vendor insists that the deposit has to be paid before delivery.

    However, once the money is paid, no item is delivered and the shopper ends up getting frustrated once they realise that they have been swindled. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has warned Kenyans to beware of this popular scam.

    3.) Fake shops

    Some shops in the Nairobi Central Business are used to defraud citizens.

    Once you buy an electronic in the said shop, the vendors will lie that they need to get an item that is not on display from another shop.

    However, they will use minutes outside the shop to wrap a faulty electronic and give it to you.

    "I only noticed when I got home. It was faulty and it was not working.  When I returned the item to the shop I had bought it, they said that I was the one who had spoilt it," Ann Atieno told

    4.) Fake importers

    Here, a conman or woman indicates that they work with an international e-commerce company and are in a position  to help you import goods from other countries.

    The victims will often send the money to them but will hardly receive the items ordered for.

    "I kept calling the person from whom I had ordered the goods from but my calls went answered. After a month, I realised that I had been conned," Ruth Kimani, a victim stated.

    5.) Fake brands

    Fraudsters purchase counterfeit electronics that look like they are from widely recognised brands. The names of these products also closely mimic international brand names too.

    However, the electronics turn out to be faulty and end up needing frequent repairs.

    File image of Luthuli Avenue before refurbishment
    File image of Luthuli Avenue before refurbishment

    It is important to test whether the electronics work, before you make your way out of an electronic store.

    Additionally, it is always important to ensure that you receive items before making any payments.