On October 9th and 10th 2019, DCI posted on Twitter images of suspects’ tools of trade to include over 40, 000 sim card of different telecommunications providers
Again on the 10th of April, while investigating crimes in Muhoroni, Kisumu County, police recovered several Safaricom sim cards among other illegal weapons found from a suspects’ house.
On May 14th, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) posted on their Twitter timeline images an assorted of sim cards and identity cards, among other tools used by suspects to defraud unsuspecting Kenyans of their hard earned sweat.
THREE ELECTRONIC Fraud Suspects namely Ian Kinanga, Jefferson Bosire both University Students and Kevin Oroko a Software Developer at a Local Bank were today arrested at Highpoint residential area in Juja town by @DCI_Kenya Serious Crime Detectives. pic.twitter.com/k2mhAsS4LX
— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) May 14, 2020
The previous day, they had arrested a “45 year old Online Fraudster by the name Anthony Njenga Wanjiku has been arrested by detectives following several complaints by members of the public. Njenga runs a Facebook page purporting to sell electronic goods where unsuspecting members of the public are lured to buy..” On his arrest, he had 32 sim cards registered under different ID numbers
Digging deeper, this has been the ‘modus operandi’ of criminals in the country, dating back several years but their time may have come to an end.
The discovery of SIM cards is part of the enigma criminals have thrived to create havoc in people’s lives. Over the years, diverse schemes using these SIM cards have increased their trickery.
Identity theft is one of them, where they impersonate you to your family, friends or business partners to demand money or defame your character.
They can also use your identity to defraud people via M-Pesa, Mobile banking, fraudulent calls/SMS or conduct criminal activity like money laundering, extortion, demand ransom, harassment, send threats, engage in terrorism.
The registered line means they can receive or transfer funds/ proceeds from fraudulent or criminal activity and put in you in legal problems due to their criminal activity since the line carries your identity including kidnappings, car jackings and murder done using that line will be associated with you.
In addition, they can claim archived funds or next of kin funds like that of a family member.
They can also take fraudulent loans, Fuliza, Okoa Jahazi under your details that may result in you being listed on CRB and thus denied loans by financial institutions due to default – this will still negatively affect your credit score even if the loans are eventually paid off being denied certain Safaricom products like Fuliza, Okoa, Post pay etc. in future due to the bad credit score that will be used to determine your risk level.
Fraudsters continue to come up with new ways and means of defrauding Kenyans. They customize their con to fit the relevant societal context like the COVID-19 pandemic and Safaricom promotions whenever Safaricom is live with these promotions.
They have also been able to impersonate banks, Safaricom, prospective employer, government official, teacher and headmaster with their only objective being access to the funds in ones phone/bank.
These schemes referred to us social engineering ensure they trick or manipulate customers into revealing personal details of their line to fraudsters. They then swap off the line once done or where a customer is tricked into sending money to a fraudster.
However, all these schemes will soon come to an end with the introduction of Tuwaanike service by Safaricom to ensure a customer is notified once a new line is about to be registered so that you accept or decline the registration, shielding yourself from being a statistic.
While those who have already been defrauded have helped ensure future cons are unsuccessful, their anguish is not in vain.
Already, the service is receiving plaudits from Kenyans online who term it as long overdue.
Tuwaanike is also responsive to customer needs to reduce fraud.
Safaricom should have OTPs sent to your main number to authorise registration of secondary numbers or some transactions too eg mobile loans. This would curb the mobile loans fraud cases that are on the rise.
— Kikuyu Pipes (@DrKanyuira) February 11, 2020