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DCI warns public over promotion fraud syndicate operating in CBD

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has sounded an alarm to Kenyans to beware of a notorious criminal syndicate operating within Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD).

In a statement on Tuesday, DCI noted that it had received numerous complaints from members of the public who have fallen prey to the marauding criminals.

“The DCI is in receipt of numerous complaints from members of the public who report having fallen victim of a suspected fraud syndicate, operating within Nairobi’s Central Business District. The well-organized syndicate consists of young men and women, who pose as sales agents of the suspects,” part of the statement read.

The detectives noted that the criminals operate from an attached vehicle behind Kenya National Archives, along Tom Mboya Street, posing as genuine marketers of unreasonably cheap smartphones, iPads, tablets, and other flashy electronic products.

They target you, accost, block your way and run after you if you slip away from their trap.

They then hand you a card and ask you to scratch it and win prizes — money, phones and laptops, among others.

Before you know it, you are a victim of con artists who offer you a fake phone or laptop or any other thing — but not before you pay some money.

They usually have a stand-by vehicle nearby, where they direct clients to go and ‘register’ and collect their prizes. There, a man or woman demands money to “process” claims.

The criminals also purport to assist clients to upgrade their SIM cards to the recently launched 5G in the country.

According to the sleuths, once they have the full attention of an unsuspecting would-be buyer, they access the victim’s mobile money transfer pin and other mobile banking details, after which they transfer money from the victims’ accounts to unknown accounts.

“Whereas detectives and general duty police officers have previously arrested the fraudsters after receiving complaints from victims, they (victims) hardly show up at the police stations or DCI offices to file formal reports, thus weakening the evidential aspect upon arraignment of the suspects,” the DCI added.

“As such, we appeal to members of the public who may have been hoodwinked by the fraudsters to report at DCI Headquarters’ Serious Crime Unit, to formally report their experiences with the syndicate for necessary Police action to be initiated,” the sleuths urged.

“The well-organized syndicate consists of young men and women, who pose as sales agents of the suspects,” it added.

DCI appealed to members of the public who may have been hoodwinked by the fraudsters to report to the DCI headquarters’ Serious Crime Unit.

They vowed that necessary police action would be taken following the reports.

Last year, six people who have been conning unsuspecting members of the public in Nairobi CBD of their money falsely pretending they are promotional agents of leading mobile telecommunication companies were charged with fraud.

The six were arrested in a joint operation carried out by the DCI’s special service unit (SSU) and the Administration police service’s Rapid Deployment Unit along Ronald Ngala Street.

They were accused of defrauding three people – Mary Naeku Tumboi, Esther Wanjiku Mwangi and Dan Olekete Olukere- of Sh36,000, 18,000 and 15,000 respectively on August 3.

They were purporting to be giving offers for several items including tablets and smartphones using the telecos.

The Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, in its Article 55, prohibits gaming in the streets and other public places, whether on payment or otherwise.