KAMITI CHRONICLES; EVOLUTION OF CELLPHONE CRIME.
Mobile scamming crime has evolved over the past in a lot of ways. At first, the scamming revolved around the Mpesa messages whereby you would receive a replica of the Mpesa text on your phone and then receive a call immediately after asking if you received any money by mistake.
In the initial days, a lot of people were scammed using this method. The criminals behind the scheme understood very well that we are very ‘spiritual’ and that we could want to practice our primary Christian education given any slightest opportunity.
And at the end of the day, it worked very well for the criminals. I know of a lot of people who were conned using this method. Back in the village, a lot of those conned were the older and fairly new to the technology back in the day.
After people had learned of that scheme, the scammers came up with a new trend. They impersonated the customer care personnel at the Safaricom call centers this time around. These guys had, and have, the right voices and language to make one believe the calls are legitimate.
The thin line between the two factions is that the illegitimate callers ask more than is necessary. They ask what you could expect them to have. In a twist of questions and threats of losing your line and the money in it, one gets prompted to divulge the information which then gets used to bypass security and eventually leads to theft of the money one has in the digital wallets.
Most recently, the criminals understood the care parents have for their children and have been capitalizing more on sending texts in regards to students in schools losing their personal belongings and needing replacements.
In that same line, they have been also inclining their con activities in the line of love. The danger with this has been the stealing of both people’s emotions as well as their resources. Interestingly enough, these guys know that some of these tricks will never be old because, in the 50+ million, there must be an ignorant Kenyan who can fall prey easily.
I don’t know if it is me alone who is now beginning to receive messages about a burial/hospital committee somewhere in which as a ‘committee or kin,’ I am supposed to pay the agreed amount towards meeting the burial/hospital bill expenses. As I write this article, I already received one for today. It reads:
“The organizing committee and the family of Robert Cheruiyot (Taptet) of Chemamul village do humbly invite you to fundraise in aid of the medical bill of 1.1 million of Robert Cheruiyot. The function will be held on Friday 6/5/2022 at AIC Chemamul. Mpesa No. 0724389307 (Gideon Langat). Your prayers and contribution are highly appreciated.”
Now tell me why you may not be tempted to fall for this one. As a social being, it is in our African culture to help others when they are in need. Come to think of it this way, don’t you think there would be a coincidence that such a case or near same would exist.
Then one person is going to read the text and don’t take time to digest it and end up sending money. It raises alarm to me since this same text has been coming to one of my phones consistently with the function date only changing.
Secondly, I don’t know anybody close to that person’s name. Thirdly, I don’t come anywhere near a place known as Chemamul. That is me. Imagine a person who knows someone called Robert Cheruiyot, even though not from Chemamul, and sees the text. His eyes stop at Cheruiyot and instead of calling to inquire will go ahead and send something towards the bill.
In other cases, some Kenyans of goodwill simply are touched by the text and end up sending some money without a second thought believing God wants them to be of help to those in need. And just like that, the chances of the scammer pay off.
The future of mobile scamming, a lot of whose control centers are in Kenyan prisons such as Kamiti will keep evolving and be a step ahead for some Kenyans and such keep swindling them of their hard-earned cash.
Be vigilant and don’t be conned or scammed. Verify and be sure with information to be safe.