A suspected fraudster accused of conning Kasarani Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD), Peter Mwanzo Ksh600,000 through a SIM swap has been detained for eight more days pending investigations.
Gideon Mark who was arrested on January 8, 2022, in Bomet county was arraigned at Milimani Law courts but was not charged with any offence after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations sought to have him detained to enable investigators complete investigations into the matter.
According to detectives, the suspect is alleged that on diverse dates between January 4 and 5, 2022, with help of Safaricom Kenya Limited unlawfully swapped officer Mwanzo's Safaricom line and used it to fraudulently transfer a sum of Ksh600,000 from his Equity Bank account.
Mark is said to have conned the Kasarani OCPD while pretending to be an agent of Safaricom. The suspect is alleged to have called the OCPD severally using a private number only to defraud him of his funds at Equity Bank account after obtaining his private information.
In an affidavit filed in court by the DCI, corporal Kapario Lekakeny sought to be allowed to continue holding the accused stating that investigations into the case involve weighty issues which require ample time since police are expected to travel to Bomet county where they expect to recover the money.
The court heard that Mark is part of a syndicate operating from Mulot within Bomet county which has been defrauding members of the public using mobile money platforms.
"The suspect was arrested with the help of the service provider. He has been using the Airtel and Safaricom lines that received the money. However the money was not recovered and the investigators require adequate time to travel to parts of Bomet with the help of the suspect in order to recover the money," Kapario informed the court.
Investigations have revealed that Mark and his accomplices have turned Mulot into one of the hotspots of mobile phone fraud in the country.
The detective told the court that during the course of their investigations, assorted Sim cards and phones were recovered from the suspect adding that they require more time to extract the information from the gadgets to enable them to arrive at the ideal charges to be preferred against the suspect.
"The DCI would rely on Mark to assist in identifying members of his syndicate who are all using mobile phone numbers registered with other people's national identity cards to disguise their identities," the officer stated.
During interrogation, the suspect confessed that he is a member of the sim swap syndicate group in Mulot in Bomet county known as 'Confirmed' and which has been conning members of the public millions of shillings by hacking their emails and mobile phones.
Police are also tracking down officials from the two giant mobile service providers (Safaricom and Airtel) who have been colluding with the scammers to siphon money from the members of the public.
The suspect told investigators that they target the elderly by hacking their emails and phone numbers which enable them to access all their private information and then use it to 'clean' the victim's MPESA and bank accounts.
Police further claim that the suspect has since disclosed that in Bomet the syndicate buys the registered numbers at Ksh200 which they use to defraud their victims. The numbers are said to have been registered using Identity cards of the dead or lost ID cards.
Sim-swapping is a form of fraud through which scammers manipulate unsuspecting mobile phone users to divulge their confidential information.
The scammers then use this information to replace the sim cards without the owners' knowledge. With the new cards, the fraudsters then wipe out the clients' MPESA and bank accounts.