Detectives have unmasked the mastermind of the infamous Mulot SIM swap syndicate, one David Mutai alias Hillary Langat Matindwet, a dangerous criminal who has previously served time in prison and has several cases and warrants of arrest hanging around his neck.
This follows comprehensive investigations by the detectives based at the elite Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau, who unraveled the identity of the de facto leader of the criminal enterprise, responsible for a SIM swap scam in which phone scammers hijack a victim’s cell phone number
He and his gang then use it to gain access to sensitive personal data and bank accounts through the mobile banking applications available on mobile phones.
In a recent case leading to the arrest of two of his accomplices, the scammers had siphoned Sh941,000 from a bank account belonging to a legislator from Rift Valley, who was out of the country on official duties between December 2 and 3.
Following the incident reported by the legislator, one of Mutai’s lieutenants Justus Rono, 28, was tracked down by detectives and arrested in the fraudsters paradise of Mulot, a dusty town shared between Bomet and Narok counties.
Rono, who disguises himself as a Boda boda rider is one of the main suspect’s trusted allies, who ferries him on his bike discreetly to avoid detection by police.
Images of Rono showing off wads of cash following some of the successful operations that they have conducted were also obtained by the detectives.
A second suspect identified as Kevin Kiplagat was also apprehended at Sigor market Bomet county, in the latest arrest of SIM swap fraudsters who have sought refuge in the infamous trading center that has gained notoriety for harboring cons.
The fraudsters who have also perfected the act of impersonating senior government officials recently obtained an unspecified amount of money from unsuspecting members of the public, after posing as a senior state official who would influence employment and business opportunities at a fee.
According to the DCI, the suspects who have registered multiple SIM cards using details from fraudulently acquired identification documents, deposit the siphoned money to different Mpesa accounts, in a bid to make it difficult for detectives to track them down.
In some instances, the fraudsters working in cahoots with rogue banking officials pose as customer care agents from banks and then ask for a customer’s account number, PIN, as well as details of the last transaction on the targeted account.
They then use the details to duplicate the victims’ accounts and after a successful SIM swap, the account is swept clean in a matter of seconds.
Local financial institutions are the most targeted due to their inferior network segmentation systems, which expose their clients’ sensitive data to fraudsters in case of cyber threats.
Police want Kenyans not to reveal their national identity card name and number, the last time they made an M-Pesa transaction and the amount, the last airtime top-up and amount and the Personal Identification Number of their sim cards to strangers who contact them.
“You are also advised not to use your year of birth as your Personal Identification Number.”
Meanwhile, detectives have launched a manhunt for David Mutai alias Hillary Langat Matindwet, who hails from Bomet county.