Kenya; A Land Full of Fraudsters and Con Artists
Kevin Namunwa  |  Aug 29, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has had its negative and positive effects in Kenya. However, those who have felt the positive effects are the ones who found a way to conquer the pandemic.

The pandemic has hugely affected the economy with many Kenyans suffering for it. A majority of Kenyans lost their jobs with others having to operate with half salaries. These are the people whom the virus has affected negatively.

Albert Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies a great opportunity.” While most Kenyans are struggling to make ends meet during these unprecedented times, others are feeding on their vulnerability.

Among the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Kenya has seen a rise in the number of fraudsters and con artists.

They thrive on Kenyans’ desperation to hack through the pandemic to steal from them.

Kenyans Becoming Millionaires in a Day

Blogger Edgar Obare recently released a new con scheme that was making millionaires in a matter of hours. Sadly, it is the same scheme that might have cost Kevin Omwenga his life.

The blogger exposed how money laundering is slowly becoming famous in Kenya. Nigeria has been known as the country where money laundering is most rampant but Kenya seems to be slowly catching up.

The Kenyan money launderers have been stealing money from international accounts especially the USA. A tech-savvy scammer whom they refer to as a loader steals the money from many bank accounts. They then transfer the money offline to another country after which it is then transferred to Kenya or to a country where it is intended to go. By doing that, the money is untraceable.

What then happens is that the money to the destination country is loaded into a daring person’s account, but offline when banks cannot detect it. They make sure the ATM card used has no money at all. Once the money is loaded offline, they look for a Point of Sale owner (POS). Point of Sale is a place where something is sold to the public; it could be a club, a supermarket, a retail shop, etc.

The card is then run offline in the POS machine and they wait for about 24 hours for the money to reflect. That is when they share the loot according to their agreed percentages. They withdraw the money strictly in US dollars and not Kenyan currency.

One deal can be worth up to Ksh 500 Million which is divided amongst the loader, POS owner and other significant players in the deal.

Return of Ponzi Schemes

In 1919, one man, Charles Ponzi coined an investment scam focused on the US Postal Service. Years later, people are still being scammed using the scheme that was later named after Charles Ponzi.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought back Ponzi schemes in Kenya. Clement Kimani, a Nakuru resident has already lost money through a Ponzi schemes.

Clement joined Crowd1 earlier in the year by buying a Ksh 12,647 package online hoping he would strike it rich sooner. The package was supposed to earn him a minimum of Sh1,277 within a week.

Months later, he has nothing to show for it other than some motivational talks he attended, courtesy of the educational pack he received upon his registration, which allowed him to attend some online classes.

He is now back to small-scale farming in his rural home in Nakuru having lost his hard-earned money.

In fact, regulatory agencies have warned Kenyans on the return of Ponzi schemes aimed at defrauding Kenyans under the guise of helping them make quick money during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenyans are now desperate to make money that will help them hack through the pandemic and fraudsters and con artists are taking advantage of this.