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Top Scams that Have Swindled Kenyans in 2023
Money Management

Top Scams that Have Swindled Kenyans in 2023

Kenya is a hardworking country. Many people in the country make an honest living. However, some malicious individuals have defrauded faithful citizens by taking advantage of and stealing from them.

A typical person would think that they are easily duped and hence perceive themselves as immune to these scams, but the scammers are getting smarter and smarter, and just about anybody can fall into their trap.

There have been stories on the news and social media all through 2023 of people who have been conned. Here are the most common scams that people fell for in 2023.

Read Also: 8 Online Scams That Robbed Many Kenyans in 2023

Land Scams

Being a landowner is a symbol of success in our society. If you speak to anyone who has worked for a few years, most people plan to buy land and build a home. Because of people's propensity to buy land, scammers have realised that this is a field they can dupe people.

Many people are not familiar with the land-buying process. These scammers claim to make the process easier and faster for unsuspecting customers and end up stealing from them.

Such scams have also extended into renting, with fake rental agents that disappear with tenants' money.

Here are some land scams that affected Kenyans and that you need to look out for.

  • Fraudulent property listings - These are fake internet and social media listings. The fraudsters make replica listings of real houses on the market, but upon inquiry, they rush you into paying made-up fees or putting up a deposit, and then they disappear.
  • Title Deed Scams - Mostly inexperienced land buyers are the ones who fall for this scam because they do not know the due diligence necessary before buying land. They are shown a piece of land and a fake title deed. They then pay for the piece of land only to realise the piece of land has another owner or five other people have title deeds for the same piece of land.
  • Property Investment Scams - In these types of scams, people are brought on as investors and asked to contribute to a project that has not yet been built but is in the plans. They are sold that buying early in the project will be cheaper, and once the building project is over, there will be a massive upside to their investment. But once they pay their instalments, the fraudsters disappear with their money.
  • Rental Scams - In this type of scam, you find fake rental listings online or on posters. When you call to inquire about the house, you are told that everything in the house is set and other people had inquired about the house before you. You need to put up some deposit beforehand to secure the house so no one else can move in. 

How to protect yourself

As much as you are excited about buying land, do not rush the process. It is better to be a few months late buying the land than lose your money. 

Learn the due diligence process involved in buying land. Work with a credible lawyer who will help you run a background check on the company selling the land, the validity of the piece of land being sold, and the steps you need to follow to transfer the land ownership.

Regarding rentals, ensure you see the house first before paying for anything. Verify that the agent or caretaker showing the house is in charge of the building. You can do this by talking to a neighbour in the building. 

Read Also: 6 Reasons Why People Get Scammed

Cryptocurrencies and Forex Scams

The capability to trade online has brought its fair share of scammers. Only a few people are familiar with the cryptocurrency and the forex space. Scammers take this advantage and sell heaven to the knowledgeable and take advantage of them while at it,

While these scams are in many different shapes, three things are common with such scams. These are:

  • Unbalanced claims - With every investment comes risk. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. However, crypto scammers will sell you mainly on the big reward and downplay the potential risks. Any legitimate investment advisor will ensure that you understand the risk you are undertaking and allow you to choose whether you are comfortable with that risk. But scammers go to the extent of guaranteeing you success in your trades.
  • Requests for money - Scammers paint a picture of becoming a millionaire overnight. But before they let you in, you have to pay a fee. They can call the fee anything. This is extortion. This is different from how legitimate traders do business.
  • Lifestyle testimonials - Scammers will send you pictures of successful trades followed by images and videos of successful customers in their supercars and stately homes. All this is to capitalise on your longing for a good life. They overemphasise the trade's outcome and not the trade's mechanics. No legitimate trader can guarantee that you will be successful, let alone be a millionaire. Be skeptical about those who sell it to you as if it is a sure bet.

How to protect yourself

There is nothing like a get-rich-quick scheme. Everything comes at a price. The better the deal, the more possibility there is for a downside.

Ensure you do your due diligence and research whether the person selling you the trading opportunity works with a regulated trading company. In Kenya, investment companies are regulated by the Capital Market Authority (CMA). 

Read Also: BEWARE: New Con Trick Targeting Car Owners 

Employment Scam

The employment scam takes advantage of people who are desperate for employment. Considering the country's employment status, you can easily tell why this is such a common scam.

Like there are fake house listings, scammers also use phoney job listings. They replicate actual employment listings, and they get people applying. They then start charging an interview fee for every applicant. Since people want the chance, they pay and realise it was a scam later.

The other form this can take is someone calling you and telling you they have an opening in a big company or a parastatal, but they need someone to place. If you are interested, they can consider you. They then tell you that several requirements are needed, but if you have a certain amount of money, they can help you get the requirements hassle-free. But once you pay up, they ghost you.

How to protect yourself

Once you see a job opening, verify it is legitimate on the company's website. You can also call the company to ascertain whether they are hiring for your specific role.

Beware of companies that ask you to pay to be interviewed. Second, beware of companies that have asked for requirements such as health reports before you even get an offer of employment.

Read Also: 7 Advance Fee Scams and How to Beat Cons at Their Game

WhatsApp or Facebook Money Requests

These are scams where people impersonate a friend or family member on WhatsApp or Facebook and ask for money, claiming that they urgently need the money.

Mostly, they claim they are in hospital or have been arrested. These fraudsters are creative and might have other members play police or doctor to confirm that they are genuinely in the citation they claim to be in.

They escalate the matters fast to deny you the time to think clearly and get you to send them the money they need. If you appear gullible, they might add to the costs and milk you until you suspect and discover you are being duped.

How to protect yourself

Before sending your money to anyone, ensure you can corroborate their story with other family members or mutual friends. You can also call your friend or loved one directly, saving you a lot of turmoil.

Read Also: Too Good to be True? Signs It’s a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme, Scam

Fake Online Shops

With the rise of online shopping, scammers have found a new way of taking advantage of the unsuspecting.

They do this by setting up fake online shops. They list products with high circulation and undercut prices of legit shops to lure you in. Once you engage with them, they try as much as possible to pay without seeing the product. They over-promise and have snappy answers for every concern you might raise. But once you pay, they go silent.

How to protect yourself

If you are shopping online, be cautious with your purchase. Explore the shop's social media accounts and read the comments people leave there. Read reviews online, too. You can also engage with previous customers on social media just to double-check the legitimacy of the shop.

Read Also: Avoiding Car Dealership Scams: 7 Tips to Protect Yourself

Fuliza Limit Scam

Fuliza is an overdraft service offered by Safaricom. The limit of how much money you can access is determined by Safaricom, depending on your MPESA transactions. 

However, people are stating they can artificially increase the Fuliza limit one can access. This is a scam, as the only way to increase your limit is by transacting more on Mpesa. 

How to protect yourself

Like a bank account, the only way to increase your loan limit is to transact more with the bank account. The same goes for Fuliza.

Read Also: Common Financial Scams College Students Should Know and How to Avoid Them

Wrong Mpesa Transaction

This is as old as mobile money scams, but people still fall for it. Even in 2023, it remains to be a popular scam. 

In this scam, you receive a message that you have received money from your Mpesa account. Then someone calls you and tells you that they mistakenly sent you the money and ask you to return it to them. After you send the money, you realise that your MPesa balance has reduced, you have received no money, and you have just sent the scammer your cash.

How to protect yourself

All legitimate MPESA transactions come from Mpesa and not a phone number. Double-check the Mpesa message to ensure it is legitimate.

Secondly, you can ask them to reverse the money from their side. 

Read Also: What to Do If You Get Conned, Scammed, or Defrauded in Kenya

Wrapping Up

Times are difficult, and people resort to illegal ways of making money. In 2023 quite many people have been victims. I almost fell for an employment scam this year because the scammers have become so good at defrauding people. It is time you up your ante to avoid being a victim.

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Stephen Kimani aka KIMSpeaks is a thought leader, speaker, and writer. He is also the Founder of Living the DREAM. He is passionate about learning and teaching ideas that empower people to improve the quality of their lives. You can connect with Kimani on LinkedIn.

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