It didn’t start yesterday. Long ago before Facebook reached Kenya, privileged college girls and their mafisi counterparts used to meet in LifeInRed (LIR), a Coca Cola online chat platform that created and broke so many relationships and marriages. It caused me to throw a serious jab to a friend when him and my brother couldn’t agree on who had the right to see her, a Tanzanian model they both met on LIR. I too met a number of those beautiful lasses – but only they that had met all of the several conditions I had set to shield me from scammers and potential murderers.
Many LIR mafisi were scammed. If it wasn’t money to access cyber services then it was airtime – and in those days airtime wasn’t available in ten shillings scratch cards. If she asked for airtime then you knew it is 500 shillings she wanted. Shortly after the lowest airtime scratch card dropped to 250 shillings thanks to a cutting edge article in the Daily Nation. The hundred and fifty and twenty and ten shillings vouchers are very recent. If she didn’t bother to ask for cyber or airtime fees then she was the calculative type – patiently waiting for a meetup request – that’s when she’d decide to be a Mombasa resident – and that’s how some mafisi parted with no less than shs 2,000 for her bus fare – even though they never got to meet her.
LIR didn’t last forever but the scamming continued in other virtual dating – chatting – and meetup platforms. Once Coca Cola shut down LIR (worst decision ever – I swear today LIR could be Kenya’s wildfire) the then mafisi team found themselves in Mig33, then 2Go, then Safari Chat – then Twitter. Facebook started appearing in the days of Mig33 – actually it is Facebook that killed Mig33. I too had my scam experience on 2Go, but no details for the public ears. After several years, the scams have gone to Facebook.
There is a current flock of Facebook users – toddlers born in the 90s. They type funny, talk funny, and have zero sense of grammar. They are lazy. They would have loved it if a single letter could convey a message worth a paragraph. They could have loved it more if that letter were x. The females of this generations are scammers too but due to their laziness, they lack the sophistication of their pioneers.
No, they don’t have the patients to chat you for weeks or months before they drop their two cents worth of scam lines. They know that you added them as friend on your Facebook because of their photoshopped curves; that you will be elated to receive a hae message immediately they accept the friendship request, and that you will respond with an immediate hi. Their next response will be:
Dea, am in tao na sina fare ya kurudi home. Pls nitumie 50 bob nitakurudishia nikifika home.
The message confused me for minutes. It wasn’t from someone I had just added but from she whom I had been friends with for a while. “Could she be someone I know but changed her name and profile picture?” I browsed through her profile and didn’t spot anything familiar. “Do we know each other?” I asked.
“Your real names?”
Jecinta was the name she was using on Facebook. It wasn’t familiar. I had had no friends called Jecinta. “This one is from LIR”, I concluded; and blocked her. I didn’t fall to her scam because I was wise thanks to my long long ago 2Go experience, but there are a few unlucky chaps who fall to these stupid facebook scams that are calculated as follows:
- You can’t ask for a lot of money – they will think of you as a gold digger
- No one reasonable think that they can be conned of 50, or 100 or 200 bob
- If I create a problem that can be resolved by 50 bob, then it is likely 100 out of 1000 strangers may be willing to help out.
On a good day therefore, a lucky toddler can con unsuspecting you up to shs 5000 – and that’s more than what our LIR beauties could get in a year.
This tweet has been trending on Twitter as an awareness campaign against such stupid Facebook scams, specifically targeting team mafisi.
— That Guy!! (@joseh_fab) November 17, 2015