Manhunt for criminals who defrauded Isiolo journalist of Sh116,000

Abduba Mamo

Kenya News Agency journalist Abduba Mamo. Mr Mamo was conned Sh116,000 by people claiming to be working with a telecommunication company.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

Detectives in Isiolo are investigating a fraud case in which a local journalist was defrauded of Sh116,000 by criminals posing as employees of a leading phone network service provider.

Mr Abduba Mamo was on his way home when two men wearing branded reflectors and driving a private car approached him and offered to upgrade his sim card from fourth to fifth generation (5G) free of charge.

One of the fraudsters identified himself as the company's field manager, and both had job cards, according to a statement recorded at Isiolo Police Station under case number 74/24/5/2023.

"They asked me to remove one of the sim cards so that I could update the new one they offered me," said Mr Mamo, who works for the Kenya News Agency.

An hour later, he discovered that the fraudsters had stolen his Equitel sim card, withdrawn his remaining money and successfully applied for a mobile banking loan, prompting him to report the matter and alert his bank, which managed to deactivate his account and save about Sh7,000.

The criminals withdrew the money in four tranches of Sh21,800, Sh24,000, Sh31,000 and Sh39,500, according to a bank report seen by the Nation.

"I remember at some point my sim card fell into the car but I did not ask for it after they told me my new sim card had been upgraded. I just walked away and rushed to prayers," he said.

The journalist suspects that the fraudsters may have peeked through and seen his Pin number when he restarted his phone, and which is the same one for mobile banking.

Isiolo sub-county police commander William Kiambi said investigations had been launched as a manhunt for the criminals continued.


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