Kenya’s leading online classifieds operator OLX Kenya together with Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) and ICT Authority of Kenya have partnered to spearhead “Kaa Ridhoo” campaign (Kenya’s slang for ‘be careful’ or ‘be alert’).
The three bodies are set to play distinct roles in the Kaa Ridhoo Campaign with OLX Kenya set to roll out a toll free number for reporting fraud and also partner with KK Security Group for fraud investigations. “As an online platform, we have not been exempt from cases of unscrupulous individuals. We have been trying to do our due diligence, and provide as much information as necessary to our clients regarding their safety… as we are not involved in the transactions between sellers and buyers, this campaign offers the perfect opportunity to reach a wider market” said OLX Country Manager, Mr. Peter Ndiang’ui during the launch of Kaa Ridhoo campaign.”
He went ahead to state that OLX had partnered with KK Security Group “to provide trained private investigators who will be sitting at the OLX offices. Due to their close working relationship with the police, they will ensure timely solutions to any cases raised during the campaign period and even after. To further promote the success of this partnership,OLX is also in the process of instituting a toll free number which our clients can call in case they sense any foul play from those who contact them,”
Cofek on the other hand will provide all the necessary support to ensure Kaa Ridhoo campaign is successful. “COFEK is committed to consumer protection, education, research, consultancy, litigation, anti-counterfeits campaign and business rating on consumerism and customer-care issues. We laud efforts such as this campaign by relevant stakeholders to ensure that the consumers become more knowledgeable and aware of how to keep safe. We will continue to work with organizations that commit to consumer protection as is our mandate,” said Mr. John Juma, Vice Chairman, COFEK while reiterating the Federation’s mandate to work towards a fair, just and safe marketplace for all Kenyan and regional consumers in all sectors of the economy.
The ICT Authority on the other hand acknowledged that the government is faced with serious cyber security issues and one way to deal with them is by implementing security credentials for Internet users. To transact online, an Internet user will be required to have valid online IDs in the form of accredited digital certificates.
“We are aware of the challenges and are working to enhance the security of Kenya’s cyber space. In June, we launched the National Cyber Security Framework, which consists of the strategy, Digital Certificates and a portal where Kenyans can report about incidences. We are working with various stakeholders to realize these goals,” said the PS, Ministry of ICT, Mr. Joseph Tiampati.
ICT Authority Marketing Director, Ms. Eunice Kariuki, added that ICT Authority “not only want to reach those affected by fraud online, as is the case with OLX, but offline clients as well. Our mandate as the ICT Authority is to co-ordinate the ICT sector, establish, develop and maintain secure ICT infrastructure and systems, and to market Kenya as a local and international ICT hub. If Kenyans do not trust online platforms, it is a setback for us,” she continued.
The ICT Authority will soon start using digital certificates which will act as digital ID’s for those contracting online. The system is already piloting at Kenya Revenue Authority (see Kenya to be second state in Africa to implement Digital Certificates for the taxpayer)
OLX has been very keen in ensuring that those who use the platform are safe by giving out guidelines on how to interact with both buyers and sellers. To this effect, they have published several guidelines for both buyers and sellers that if followed, one can run away from fraud. We at Kachwanya.com are also interested to educate our readers in regards to the necessary steps that one ought to take to be on the safe side when it comes to online fraud. In this regard we wrote an article titled Beware of Fraudsters Online particularly directed to OLX users and outlined the following guidelines:
The sellers are specifically asked to consider:
- Taking the full payment at the time of the delivery. The delivery of the time being sold should be done at a safe location preferably a public venue.
- Not to accept cheques. Basically accept payment in modes that you trust.
- Verifying the buyer’s credentials if there is a request for a bulk order.
- Verifying the buyer’s phone number and other contact information. For example Sending a 10 bob to the number may help reveal their names if they are registered on M-PESA.
- Ensuring that the product being sold meets the features listed in the ad post to avoid misunderstandings with buyer.
- Not to share financial information except the one required for payment.
Buyers should be more careful and consider:
- Buying goods locally. What is important is to inspect the goods and pay only when they have been delivered and satisfied with their condition. Meeting point should be a public venue that is trusted.
- Not to send money in advance of delivery or satisfaction that the goods are in good shape (first point re-emphasized).
- Asking for clear information on condition of the good and the price before meeting the seller.
- Using only trusted and familiar payment methods.
- Verifying seller’s telephone number e.g. sending 10 bob M-PESA to verify the names.
- In case of electronic goods, cars, and bikes, tests should be done to verify that the goods are functioning before purchase.
- When buying a car or land, whether on OLX or any other market place, ownership should be confirmed with the relevant authorities.
- Doing research on comparative product prices; and calculate depression to avoid paying more.
- Not not share your financial information for example bank details, pin, e.t.c
- And last but not least, always use the “Email Seller” to get in touch with the seller. This will help us notify you immediately if we are made aware of any fraudulent activities by the seller.
We also hope that the intended digital certification for both buyers and sellers will be out soon as this will greatly deter fraudsters from operating in the platforms such as OLX. In the recent OLX Experience held at Nailab, OLX emphasized on their keenness to integrate the digital certificates on OLX platform and this will mean each buyer and seller are no longer anonymous. That’s because digital certificates ensure that a person’s ID information is authenticated by a body accredited by the government – see PKI Digital Certificates to create trust in online transactions.