Three suspected M-Pesa fraudsters arrested in Naivasha

Naivasha deputy sub county police commander Samuel Kiplong inspects a vehicle seized from three Mpesa fraudsters arrested in Naivasha on November 24, 2022

Photo credit: Macharia Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Three people, including two women, have been arrested in connection with fraudulent operations targeting M-Pesa outlets in Naivasha town and other shopping centres.

Police also confiscated a private car used by the con artists in a high-speed chase in Karagita on Wednesday evening.

Before their proverbial 40 days ended, the trio had conned a Kinungi-based M-Pesa operator of Sh53,000.

“One of the women entered the grocery shop, engaged the owner in lazy talk before picking up a phone used for M-Pesa transactions with dexterity and transferring the money,” said Naivasha sub-county Deputy Police Commander Samuel Kiplong.

The suspect allegedly “befriended” the grocery store owner, making frequent visits to the shop in a bid to forestall any suspicion the operator may have.

“All through her numerous stopovers, her singular motive was to master the pin code and seems it is something that the fraudsters have mastered over a period of time,” Mr Kiplong said.

When the store operator realised she had been defrauded, she rushed to a nearby police post and reported the theft.

“Luckily, some of the locals had spotted the vehicle and gave out the number plate, leading to the easier tracking of the defrauding trio," he said.

Police caught up with the suspects in Karagita estate as they attempted to swindle another unsuspecting M-Pesa operator, but they bolted and sought refuge in a house.

“Despite the suspects’ attempts to flee, we managed to apprehend them, but they threw one of the phones into a pit latrine,” Mr Kiplong said.

He said police will summon the owner of the Toyota Premio in connection with the incident. Investigators said the trio had hired the vehicle.

The arrests of the three came shortly after two M-Pesa operators were fleeced of Sh150,000 and Sh36,000, respectively, reportedly by the same fraudsters.

“We shall be making a miscellaneous application to hold the suspects for more days to aid in our probe,” explained Mr Kiplong.

Such cases have become rampant in Naivasha. One M-Pesa operator lost Sh900,000 to the tricksters eight months ago.

Most of the fraudsters are said to hail from Bomet, Kivumbini in Nakuru, Kisumu County and Eldoret.  

They prefer using mobile phones similar to those used by M-Pesa operators and switch phones after stupefying shop attendants.

Records at the Naivasha Police Station show that at least one M-Pesa operator is deceived a day by the thieves in the sub-county.