As police reports seen by kenyagist.com on Monday, August 3, revealed, the scam is controlled by a powerful syndicate and sees unsuspecting Nairobians lured by supposed promotions, merchandise and branded vehicles.
The branding they use is similar to that of major, recognizable firms in areas including TV subscription and communication making it easier for the fraudsters to draw their targets in.
Notably, they operate in large groups. They often set up with merchandise that includes electronics or promotional material.
This is meant to convince their targets that as long-time customers of a well known firm, for example, that they qualify for special rewards as part of a new scheme or promotion.
Once the targets are convinced, they are asked to deposit a small sum via mobile money as a supposed registration fee.
As the target transfers the fee, they discreetly obtain mobile money PINs which are crucial to their next step.
They will offer assistance to activate your account for the reward scheme or promotion, and in this time, they transfer all the funds to their accounts and ensure evidence of the transactions is cleared.
In other cases, they ask for National Identification card numbers as part of the registration process. This is tied to the belief that a large number of Kenyans use their year of birth as a password for key accounts.
In at least two cases reported to police, two individuals lost over Ksh50,000 each they had in their mobile money accounts.
Worryingly, key players behind the syndicate fleecing residents have been arrested before in different law enforcement operations only to be quietly released after.
A police source who spoke to kenyagist.com on condition of anonymity claimed that the fraudsters were protected by compromised senior police officers and county government officials.
Kenyans are advised to be cautious particularly with their personal information to avoid falling prey to the scam on city streets. They are often positioned strategically on city streets with high foot traffic.