Police Warns Public Over Huduma Scam Targeting Retirees

IG Japhet Koome as seen on August 3, 2023
IG Japhet Koome as seen on August 3, 2023

The National Police Service has sounded the alarm over a new scam targeting retired elderly persons.

In a statement published on Wednesday, September 21, the police service noted that in the new scam, criminals pose as representatives from government agencies, such as Huduma Centres to lure retirees into traps.

According to the National Police Service, the scammers often send a simple mobile phone text message asking the retirees to visit local Huduma Centres.

"Please exercise caution before sharing personal information or responding to such messages.

Nairobi Employees During a Strike Staged Outside City Hall on Wednesday October 13 Outside City Hall
Nairobi Employees During a Strike Staged Outside City Hall on Wednesday, October 13 Outside City Hall
Daily Nation

"Be aware of a fake message that is circulating on several social media sites directed at retirees urging them to visit Huduma Centres," Kenya Police Service warned.

The National Police Service also gave an example of a suspected text message which the scammers have been sending the elderly across the country.

"Hi members, do you know of anyone who worked in the ministry of Education as a teacher or any other position and retired between the year 1997 and 2007?

"If yes, advice him/her or his/her family (if deceased) to visit Huduma Centre - Pensions department for some claims that were paid. Tell a friend to tell a friend," an example of the message the scammers have been sending reads.

The criminals may use a variety of tactics to pressure the retiree into paying or providing their personal information in the subsequent follow-up conversations.

It was observed that the criminals may end up threatening the retiree or even suspend their benefits.

The criminals may also create a sense of urgency by telling the retiree that they must act immediately or they will lose their opportunity to receive a benefit or avoid a negative consequence.

The National Police Service lamented that, unfortunately, many retirees have fallen victim to this scam.

This is because, the elderly are more likely to trust someone who claims to be from a government agency, and they may also be more vulnerable to pressure tactics.

Police are, therefore, urging retirees to be aware of this scam and to take steps to protect themselves.

"If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency, hang up the phone or delete the text. Do not give out any personal information or make any payments.

"Instead, contact the government agency directly to verify the information," the police urged. 

A file image of Huduma Centre located at GPO in Nairobi
General Post Office (GPO) Huduma Centre Nairobi, posted on October 31, 2023.
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