Saturday, July 2, 2022

Senior Kasarani cop loses Sh. 600,000 in six hours to conmen

A senior Kasarani cop lost Sh. 600,000 in six hours to a gang of cons who are involved in a sim-swapping syndicate.

The senior police officer who was identified as Kasarani OCPD Peter Mwanzo lost the money on the night of January 4.

“Within less than six hours Sh. 597,100 had been transferred from my Equity Bank account to my M-Pesa account and later sent to a number unknown to me and withdrawn in Mulot, Bomet County. How this happened is still a mystery to me,” he testified before magistrate Mary Mwendwa at a court in Milimani.

Mwanzo said that the scam began with a phone call that he received from a private number at around 6.45pm on the night of January 4, 2022.

He did not pick the call. However, the caller continued calling, prompting him to put his phone on flight mode. This was at 6.45pm.

Five minutes later, he deactivated the flight mode. However his phone failed to pick the signal. At the time, he was still in office.

“I rechecked at 9pm and still the mobile phone had no network,” he said.

The following day, he visited a Safaricom shop within Kasarani area. An attendant informed him that his Sim card had failed and was advised to do a replacement for the same.

“The attendant could not tell how I lost the Sim card but I did the replacement and it was reactivated. Upon turning on my phone I was surprised by the messages that started coming in. I tried to purchase airtime and send money but the transaction failed and I got a message that I had exceeded my limits,” said Mwanzo.

The messages suggested that he had withdrawn money from his mobile and bank accounts. “I was shocked that I had even registered a Fuliza account and Airtel Money. I had never applied for any loan or registered with Airtel.”

He sought his M-Pesa and bank account statements to confirm the alleged transactions. “To my surprise, on that night, I had transacted from Equity Bank account to M-Pesa Sh597,100,” he said.

The statements showed that the money was transferred in four tranches. Mwanzo said that while the scammers were in Donholm, Nairobi, the money siphoned from his account was withdrawn in Bomet by a third party simultaneously.

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Through the help of Criminal intelligence Unit and interrogation of Safaricom staff, he learned that his Sim card been swapped.

Mwanzo asked the court to order for the refund of the money and the telecommunication firm to take responsibility for the fraud, for keeping a system that can easily be manipulated and abused by criminals. The court summoned Equity Bank, Safaricom and Airtel to court over the matter.

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