New Scheme Used by Conmen to Swindle Nairobians

  • The Sim Cards fraud is a widely used tactic by Con gangs in Nairobi.
    The Sim Cards fraud is a widely used tactic by Con gangs in Nairobi.
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  • Conmen masquerading as SIM card retailers operating in the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) have come up with new tactics to swindle unsuspecting Kenyans. 

    According to a report by NTV, the conmen have been posing as telecommunication agents or lottery gamblers.

    The set-up follows a fairly innocent, normal transaction: The lead con-artist approaches a potential mark and offers what may appear like a discount or a good deal. 

    The fake telecom agent often promises new, upgraded lines that would be ”faster” and ”better”. 

    Nairobi residents pictured at Kenya National Archives section of Nairobi CBD
    Nairobi residents pictured at Kenya National Archives section of Nairobi CBD.
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    Enticed by this incentive, the victims give their personal details while also paying to purchase the fake SIM cards. Meanwhile, the conman offers to immediately replace the victim's SIM card, switching the old SIM card with the new one.

    The conman then later contacts the victim's wireless carrier and uses their personal details to convince the call center employee that they are, in fact, the victim.

    They request that the number is transferred to a different SIM. Once done, they try to access the target's account through the stolen credentials.

    Since most service providers have a two-factor verification for the user, the code is sent to the new number that is in possession of the conmen. Once authorized, they have complete access. Unfortunately, the victim only becomes aware of the scheme once their phone is disconnected or they are locked out of their account.

    One Nairobi resident claimed that the con syndicate primarily targets the elderly as well as high school and university students.

    The report also highlighted areas such as Nairobi County Fire station along Tom Mboya street, National Archives, Tele-Posta Building along Ronald Ngara street, 1998 bomb blast memorial, as the most prone to the gangs usually operate.

    A section of Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA), National Police Service (NPS), Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) officers were also suspected to be in cahoots with the con syndicate. 

    The news report noted that some suspects are arrested and taken to court, but get off with lenient penalties. The gang normally accepts to compensate the victim thereby hindering the possibility of a prosecution. 

    Nairobi Deputy OCPD, Mbusa Awour urged Kenyans to report matters dealing with these con schemes to the police in order for them to follow through and bring the suspects to book.

    Kenyans walking on busy Nairobi streets
    Kenyans walking on busy Nairobi streets
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