Be Wary of the Evolving Conning Business
Recently we saw the Lugari MP Ayub savula, who has a corruption case pending in court being accused of forging a letter purported to have come from the Ministry of Health. This shows how far reaching the con business has reached. The art is practiced by people of all classes, right from the low income earners to the high and mighty in society.
Walking along the streets of Nairobi you realize that everyone at one point has been a victim of this con art. Yours truly vividly remembers several months ago when I received a phone call from an unknown number. I usually do not pick up numbers that are not saved on my contact list, unless I am sure who the person is. However, on this particular day I don’t know what became of me, I just picked the call. On the other end was a polite gentleman who was composed and articulate. He introduced himself and told me that he was replacing his SIM card, but unfortunately he had confused and given a wrong digit which happens to be my number. I listened keenly to his narrative though not fully convinced, I advised him to call Safaricom Customer Care desk to sort him out but then he hung up on me. The caller was requesting for my ID details among other details which I felt uncomfortable in giving out.
I imagined that this is the agony Kenyans go through every day in dealing with conmen who want to enrich themselves without feeling a tinge of sweat. As technology evolves, so are the conmen devising new ways of luring unsuspecting Kenyans.
Mobile Service providers’ promotions
It is the most exploited avenue due to its coverage and also the easy access to people’s mobile phone numbers which are registered upon entering buildings, worship area and in all institutions. Begging the question, how safe is our data being left all over especially with the existing and most threatening war on terrorism. Many organizations don’t endeavor to protect data that Kenyans leave at their entry point exposing us to dangers. Imagine, that watchman who registers you as you visit a friend in their estate or office, do you really think they secure our data or are they prone to compromise to exchange the data for a small fee? Anyway this is a story for another day. The thought of it makes me sicker however, I am not saying we shouldn’t leave or register our details at entry points. I am only concerned with the security of the data.
A friend once narrated how he received a phone call one Friday afternoon and was told that he was the lucky winner of Ksh. 3 million with a renowned promotion that was ongoing at that time. At first he was excited, however his happiness was short lived as the caller told him to send Ksh 100,000 in order to facilitate for the money to be processed into his account. It is at that point that it dawned on him that something was amiss, since he didn’t have that kind of money at hand. Shortly after hanging up on the caller he searched the number on true caller and realized that he almost become a victim of conning. He was almost left under the anguish that many have gone through were it not for his quick thinking.
The youths have been the most affected due to the high rate of unemployment in the country. The conmen place fake adverts where innocent youths are pursued to part with some amount of money commonly known as facilitation fee and which is neither reimbursed nor the job offered. Others are duped with foreign jobs which do not go through and they simply end up being mistreated in the foreign countries treated like slaves as we have seen in the past.
Other areas that con men have penetrated and cannot go unmentioned include; fake rental agencies obtaining forged and fake government documents and licenses. In fake rental agencies, the conmen lie that they have houses for rent, they force you to pay for deposit and also book for an appointment for one to inspect the said houses, unfortunately, they switch off their phones once they get the money leaving you stranded. This happens as the high demand of rented houses is always there. Kenyans ought to be careful and avoid paying for what they have not seen.
The biggest undoing for most Kenyans is the desire to get rich quickly so as to show off on how successful they have become. The conmen take advantage of this to propel and promote their business. It is about time we reflect on how much details we give and to whom we give, either on social media or social gathering. This very information we give can be at one point used against us, as we have observed some state officers during their vetting being questioned about their past posts among other things. There is need for us to be careful on our data.
Secondly, we should not be gullible and easily lured by money that we don’t care to know the source. It is important to always think and question anything you deem to be abnormal like instant money that you have not worked for.
Lastly, as they say when the deal is too good think twice. It is also important to do due diligence, conduct a proper research before you engage your money on anything so as to remain safe and healthy