20 April 2017

Kenya: Readers Beware, Every Time You Get Rid of Crook Another Pops Up


Getting rid of classifieds cheats is like beating a goose down-filled pillow with a rungu.

Every time you get rid of one cheat another one pops up elsewhere in the same classifieds.

In the past one year or so, I've written five articles about con artistes who ply the Nation classifieds.

As I said in "How to avoid falling for advertising fraud" on December 15, nobody is immune to advertising fraud.

I keep returning to the subject in the hope that readers will be more vigilant.


The latest scam involves two car hire advertisers whose messages appeared as "0718277865 new [email protected]

The second advertisement also appeared on Thursday this week on page 58.

Not all the readers who have been defrauded through the classifieds go public with the information for fear of being ridiculed.

It is also possible these fraudulent advertisements could have appeared earlier, swindling many more readers that we do not know.

"I was conned by persons using your esteemed paper to advertise," one reader texted me on Thursday this week.

"It all started on 14th April 2017 when I saw an advert for car hire in your paper. I called and got a lady by the name Caroline Lumbaya on mobile no 0718277865.

"She told me they only dispatch vehicles once payment is done, which I fell for and sent Sh4,500."


I called him for more details and he showed me a record of his M-Pesa transactions with regard to the fraud.

Another reader sent me details regarding how he was swindled by the other advertiser.

He called the number that was given as 0725451799.

However, he was asked to send the money to another telephone number - 0723773995 - that is shown in his M-Pesa transaction as belonging to Patrick Thaithi.

In both cases, the money was withdrawn within minutes of being sent.

The stories of the two fraud cases were strikingly similar.

The victims were told to pay so that the car could be sent to them.

But once they paid, the advertisers went silent. It is an old trick, which we have exposed in this column before. Readers watch out!


There's a big difference between Somali-based and Somalia-based

This is really good news, wrote Bashir Ahmed. "It is our prayer that terror groups are eliminated."

He was referring to a story, "Anti-radicalisation campaign in Isiolo bearing fruits", that was published in the online edition of the Daily Nation on April 17.

But he did not like a paragraph that read: "Last year, five young men from Isiolo were arrested at the border while on their way to join the Somali-based Islamist group".

The correct phrase should have been "Somalia-based Islamist group", he said, pointing out correctly "there is a big difference between Somali-based and Somalia-based."


There are readers who would also argue, again correctly, that the correct phrase should have been "Somali-based terrorist group" because it is terrorism, which defines the group, not religion.

To call them "Islamist group", as Muslim leaders and scholars have repeatedly pointed out to our editors is to characterise a whole religious community as terrorists.

The latest complaint I have received on this Islamophobia was on March 29, from Yusuf Ghazali, an accountant who works in Nairobi.

He said using the word Islamists to refer to terrorists is unwarranted and offensive.

"The term links terrorists to Islam and Muslims and serves to demonise Muslims and Islam. The criminal actions of a few individuals should not be used to soil the names of the entire community of Muslims in Kenya and beyond. Please just call terrorists as terrorists and not Islamists."


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