S******g from the dead: How jobless university graduates clean up dormant bank accounts

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 14 May, 2021 12:50 | 2 mins read

Officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have unearthed a tech-savvy cartel of cybercriminals and jobless university graduates who are hacking into bank accounts of the dead and those fighting for their lives in hospitals, sweeping their accounts clean.

According to sleuths, the new crime wave that is slowly taking root in the country targets dead wealthy individuals whose death and funeral announcements are placed in newspapers.

In an elaborate and well planned criminal enterprise, the savvy criminals even go a step further to attend the burials of their targets and colluding with disgruntled family members to steal from dead relatives.

“High-tech phone scammers, mostly consisting of jobless university graduates and tech-savvy youth will trick people into giving them their data-or stealing the data and end cleaning up bank accounts,” the DCI said. 

The attention of sleuths from the Special Crimes Unit of the dci was drawn to the network of cybercriminals after a dead and long buried top Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) clergyman allegedly stole from another dead Nairobi businessman.

In the case of Reverend Peter Kania Kariuki, the PCEA Sec Gen who died from COVID-19 related complications in July 2020 and businessman Amos Ngata Muiruri the criminals managed to steal Ksh 2.8 million before they were arrested. 

An established scammer who spoke to the DCI revealed that in most of their operations, a relative or relatives of the dead are usually involved. 

“A family member approaches a known member of the syndicate informing you there is a rich person who is dead and they want to access the huge sums of money in their bank accounts,” the hacker divulged. 

It’s then that the hackers demand crucial data and details of the dead person especially the mobile number. If they manage to successfully swap the SIM, they access the individuals personal data and bank accounts through Mobile Banking Apps available on Android and other smartphones. 

The crooks then transfer the agreed some of money before sharing the loot with relatives of the deceased individuals. 

“Once the cash is withdrawn they switch off the phones, frustrating efforts by the police to track them down,” the DCI revealed adding that the criminals did so when they stole more than Ksh2.8 million from the Nairobi businessman. 

Barely a week after Ngata died, one his children realized the mobile number they were using to pay bills had gone dead. When the son reported the matter to the telco provider and the SIM was reverted to the family, they realized a huge some of money was missing. It’s then that the matter was reported to police and investigations launched into the crime. 

Through the investigation of Ngata’s case, officers from Operations Branch, Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) and Special Service Unit unearthed a major SIM-swap fraud where the dead and the living have lost millions to tech-savvy scammers.