DCI Arrests 24-Year-Old Girl Accused of Online Fraud

Members of Kenyas Anti-Terror Police Unit pictured during a drill.
A photo of a Kenyan police officer conducting a drill at a past training in 2020.

Detectives drawn from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) coordinated with a local bank in Ruaka, Kiambu County, on Thursday to trick a 24-year-old girl accused of online fraud into coming out of her hideout. 

In a statement released on Friday, December 1, DCI accused the girl, identified as SWM, of several fraud cases reported in Nairobi, Kiambu, Kisumu and Mombasa. 

DCI disclosed that the woman was apprehended while seeking the bank's aid to unfreeze her accounts, which were flagged for suspicious transactions. 

As the lady, accused of scamming both foreigners and locals with fake Airbnbs, was engaging the bank officials in the lobby, DCI detectives reined in, handcuffed and dragged her away. 

Joyland shopping center in Ruaka. December 21, 2020.
Joyland shopping center in Ruaka. December 21, 2020.
Eddy Mwanza

The sleuths from Kiambaa, Kiambu County, conducted the operation swiftly without disrupting the bank operations.

"In a well-choreographed scheme that has milked both local and foreign coast-goers to the bones, the daring SWM opened several social media platforms purporting to own a number of AirBnBs in the coastal region of Mombasa, drawing a followership of over 10k unsuspecting fun lovers," DCI alleged.

It added that SWM coined attractive names for her three top Facebook pages, coupled with enticing photos that drew the attention of unsuspecting visitors. 

However, she copied marketing techniques online and pasted them on her pages without editing, a blunder that DCI spotted via plagiarism tools. SWM also uploaded copyrighted photos, which cost her her pages as owners filed complaints. 

SWM, after conning her suspects, switched off her phone numbers and directed her clients to reach out to her online and pay via mobile money or bank. Upon receiving the funds, she would disappear without a trace.

"She would vanish, leaving them stranded along beaches, bus stations, SGR terminals, and airports.

"So cunning has SWM been that she used multiple subscriber sim cards registered in different names interchangeably to cover her tracks. She mostly used stolen ID cards too," DCI stated and shared over five phone numbers linked to the suspect. 

However, in one of the incidents that sold her out, SWM obtained money from a banker who demanded a refund. A back-and-forth ensued between the duo, forcing the banker to seek police intervention in seizing his money. 

"Following the arrest, DCI stations around the Nairobi region, including DCI Kilimani, Kasarani, Thika, Kiambaa and Kiambu, are processing files for her arraignment as she awaits collection by other counties where her crimes have been reported," DCI stated, alleging that SWM is a notorious fraudster. 

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters located along Kiambu road
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters located along Kiambu Road, Kiambu County
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