Are you buying anything online? Be very careful lest you lose your cash, DCI cautions

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has been overwhelmed by massive online fraud cases, and is now calling for caution in such transactions.

“Following overwhelming reports of online fraud to our DCI Offices across the country, we wish to caution members of the public against engaging in online transactions with companies, agencies and/or individuals they have no credible information about, to avoid putting at stake their hard-earned money,” DCI said in a statement.

The detectives said some of the common cases include online groups luring desperate jobless youths about getting jobs within the country and abroad, online product vendors who disappear once payments are made in advance, online car hires that never materialize and online cash traders (Forex Exchange).

Others are social media sites bearing prominent people’s profiles aimed at misleading and extortion, fraudsters making random calls posing as service providers informing them of possible security breaches to their bank and M-Pesa accounts and agencies/individuals advertising non-existing rental houses and/or plots for sale.

“Pursuit of these criminals is in most instances a lengthy procedure, calling for cyber-forensic Interventions, mostly because perpetrators use different social media/ sim cards to contact different people, after which they block and delete their accounts upon successful transactions,” DCI added.

The detectives, however, advised Kenyans to always and immediately report to their nearest police stations any time they lose their ID cards, sim cards/mobile phones and laptops, personal documents, including academic testimonials and driving licenses, and to obtain abstract forms.

This, they said, is for not only getting police assistance in recovering lost items but also in strengthening the victims’ defense in case such documents are used in fraud and theft.

George Omondi, a Kisumu cattle trader lost Sh230, 000 to fraudsters, who cleaned up his bank account after making four successive withdrawals via M-Pesa, a month after he opened a KCB account.

Safaricom last year said mobile money subscribers lost Sh20 million to cybercriminals in 2018.

In March this year, E-commerce platform Jumia Kenya revealed it lost at least Sh118 million in the last two years due to consumer cyber fraud and a robbery.

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