Sometimes I wonder how gullible humans are. When an old trick is repeated umpteenth time and still works, then you know it is not the trickster that’s stupid, but the one being tricked. In the recent weeks I have seen a re-emergence of some old tricks that were used to con Kenyans back in the day, and it seems Kenyans are still as vulnerable today as they were back then. In this article we highlight some of the most common tricks orchestrated by con men via online, mobile, print, and supermarket platforms. Not all of them involve money.
1. Your Facebook friend’s account was not hacked
This is the part that should contain those nude photos I warned you against, but due to the nature and intent of this website, I have since changed my mind and I won’t include them. Sorry for the disappointment but please read along – this article is highly informative nonetheless.
At one point you must have seen your Facebook friend, if not you, put up a Facebook post saying that his/her Facebook Account was hacked by some psychopath whose intention is to post nude pictures on your friend’s Timeline. The explicit photos or at times videos are normally accompanied redirecting links. Recently, I had to leave a local film production Facebook Group that had many of those pictures and videos – not because I didn’t like them but because the temptation to click on those links grew stronger by each posting.
That’s where the problem is, clicking on the links. Although your friend could be the holier than thou or the reserved type, they always do what they don’t want you to know that they do, they too visit the nude links and porn sites. How else do you think Kenya could be topping the porn sites visits by country list despite being in the bottom of Internet penetration by country list?
The links on those Facebook nude pictures should never been clicked – they redirect to some spam buster App. The first thing the Apps will always want you to do is to share that picture with your friends, then request for permission to post on your Timeline. After clicking and allowing the App to post your timeline, you’ll wake up the following morning with all these nude photos on your Timeline, you’ll post a Facebook update telling your friends that your account was hacked – you won’t be lying – the App hacked it.
2. The MPESA con artists
Of course you are aware of the many methods being used by MPESA con artists to get a share of your hard earned cash. Recently there is one catchy method that almost caught me flat footed –
On a Wednesday evening in December 2014 after my work colleague and I had done the work of the day and were safely back in a Kisumu hotel waiting for dinner to be served, my phone beeped – I picked it up and read a message in Swahili, “Please send that cash to this number 0706789xxx and not to the number that you have, thanks”. Earlier in the day my friend had given me a number to which I was to send Shs 15,000 for some urgent deliveries we had requested. I was planning to send the said amount immediately after dinner.
I called my colleague and asked, “You are the one who has sent me the text?” “No I haven’t. What text”. “Someone is saying that I send the cash to some other number, did you inform David that I will be sending him the cash?” “Yes I told him, but I haven’t given him your number”. That settled it.
Not everyone is as careful. Another friend was caught equally off guard and ended up losing Shs 4,500. About a week ago, I received a similar message and thought to myself, “this trick must be working big time”.
The jobs corner
Jobs in OLX, BrighterMonday, Daily Nation Classifieds, N-Sonko and other places must be read through twice and approached very carefully. For example, look at the job ad below that is said was published in one of the dailies, and tell me if you spot any anomaly.
First, if you Google Brigar Textile, Google asks you if you meant berger textile or briggs textile. Below the ad there is registration requirement in which applicants are sent Shs 5,000 via MPESA (Kenyan number) and for further details, applicants are to call a Dr. Jules on a Ugandan number.
I have personally fallen a victim of job scams. When my first job got terminated I was so desperate to get another, and in the process a close friend told me that there was medical field research work that needed someone with my field experience. I applied. In two days the friend got back to me with good news that I was short listed for an Interview – but I was to send some Shs 1,750 for medical insurance that was to be refunded after confirmation. I smelt a rat.
I told my friend that there is no job offer that require applicants to send money for insurance or any other services before employment. All deductions, I told him, are always from gross/basic pay. Being a friend I know so well, I fell prey to his convincing explanation on how genuine the job offer was so I later sent them Shs 1,750. That was two years ago and to date, I am still waiting for my employment. Sadly, that’s how I lost a once upon a time close friend.
Nakumatt in trouble
I don’t remember when but many years ago my mom told me to always check the price tags on supermarket shelves and later compare the same to my shopping receipt. I did that several times, realized that the prices always matched, then I stopped counter checking. I reasoned that there is no way genuine supermarket business men and ladies could defraud customers as doing so would sooner or later take them out of business. I was wrong.
Two times, fist time from a very long Facebook post sometime last year and second time from a Facebook Image posted last weekend – the fraud mechanism by supermarkets have been brought light. The first post was on Tuskys – how their till prices do not match their shelve price tags – and the Weekend’s post was on Nakumatt. I don’t need to give you a lot of details about Nakumatt other than share with you the now Twittter trending picture. Check out the Twitter hashtag #NakumattOnTrial.
Just in case the message didn’t come out clearly, kindly avoid clicking on links that have explicit photos, videos and related content.