Three suspects were on Sunday arrested for operating fictitious online retail stores and scamming unsuspecting Kenyans.
Dickson Magembe, Dionicious Omonyi, and Derrick Kodek were apprehended by detectives from the Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau following numerous complaints by the public made on the DCI Facebook and Twitter pages.
According to the DCI, the suspects are suspected of using phony accounts to impersonate eCommerce company JUMIA to obtain millions of shillings from unwary customers.
“Through a fake Facebook page ‘Jumia Shopping’ the three ran a promotion over the Christmas & New Year period offering discounts of up to 40 percent for various household goods, attracting unsuspecting shoppers in droves,” DCI said.
In exchange for cash payments, DCI said the suspects offered an MPESA Till number and free delivery within 24 hours.
The victims were however blocked and left disappointed with significant losses to bear after the payment was made.
One such victim, from Mukothima, Tharaka North Sub County, paid Sh95,000 for a 7-seater recliner seat and a coffee table after seeing an advertisement on the fake Facebook page advertising the discount on recliners and other home furnishings.
Many more Kenyans who had hurriedly placed their orders and later experienced disappointment also fell for the trap, hook, line, and sinker.
The first suspect, a third-year business administration student at Kisii University, was found to possess 22 SIM cards that were used in the fraud.
After being apprehended in Kisii town’s Canaan neighborhood, the suspect helped investigators track down his two other accomplices in Ruiru, Kiambu county.
According to DCI, Swarzzenegar Otete, an information technology wizard and fraud mastermind, is currently on the run.
DCI advised the general public to exercise caution when making online purchases and to investigate the legitimacy of any websites that claim to provide particular services.