Beware of fake social media accounts, warns DCI as 3 are arrested

The Criminal Investigations Branch warns the public to beware of fraudsters operating pseudo social media accounts impersonating First Family members, the Vice President, Chief Justice and other senior officials.

Scammers who have opened multiple Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts have obtained hundreds of thousands of shillings from unsuspecting Kenyans, who are tricked into believing that the owners of the accounts will help them get financial aid, jobs, among other things favors.

In one such case, a 19-year-old suspect identified as Michael Wekesa was arrested in Sirisia, after opening a Facebook account claiming to be an employee of the Office of the First Lady.

Wekesa, who posed as a loan officer who would influence quick loans, went ahead to get thousands of desperate Kenyans, who approached him for help.

In a well-calculated ploy, the suspect who had promised interest-free loans to the prestigious First Lady’s office asked for a small deposit as a “facilitation fee” to speed up the process.

Unsuspecting Kenyans who were unaware of such scammers sent money to a provided Mpesa account, which was then transferred to a cashier number under the suspect’s name.

It was only after their calls went unanswered afterwards that they realized they had become the latest victims of the scam of tech-savvy teenagers taking advantage of gullible Kenyans online.

The main suspect’s accomplice, 19-year-old Isaac Ouduor, who operated a ‘call centre’ receiving calls from potential beneficiaries, before they were forwarded to the ‘loans officer’ for action, was also arrested in the part of this dubious scheme.

Three mobile phones used in the transactions were seized from the suspect. Later, detectives arrested Dennis Kimaru, a 25-year-old Bachelor of Commerce graduate from Kirinyaga University who operates the Facebook accounts of Mzalendo Kimaru (jeshii), Mzalendo Kym Korir and Obuntu Family.

The suspect, who also operates accounts with similar names on Twitter and Instagram, had opened a social media account in the name of the head of state’s aide-de-camp, Colonel Fabian Lengusuranga.

Detectives are pursuing other suspects who have opened accounts in the names of prominent Kenyans and senior government officials, and are using those accounts to extract money from unsuspecting members of the public.

“Kenyans are advised to be wary of such social media accounts and not to send money to anyone for the purpose of influencing favours. The Office of the First Lady maintains a verified Facebook account and members of the public are cautioned not to be misled by information posted from other unverified pseudo-accounts,” the DCI warned on Twitter.

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