Almost every Kenyan has received a call or text from an unknown number claiming to have sent them money on M-Pesa by mistake, they then pressure you to send it back to them. Another popular ruse is that they pretend to be Safaricom customer care agents and would like you to dial certain codes on your handset, thereafter the thugs are able to perform a SIM Swap and proceed to relieve you of your hard earned monies. These conmen have come to be famously known as “wezi wa Kamiti” since most people suspect that they’re inmates at Kamiti Prison. Though Kenyans have caught on to this trick, a conman always comes up with new ways to trap their victims.
Lately, professional conmen have been targeting young unemployed professionals in the country with promises of a job. Mostly, they pretend that you need to register with a small fee to be considered for employment. Their con game is so elaborate that most victims are unaware of it until they get robbed. However, if you pay close attention, you can be able to identify a conman by the things they do and say before you get robbed.
Here are some of the ways to spot a conman.
1. They Are Story Tellers
A conman capitalizes on confusing his victim with an overload of information which makes it hard for the victim to process quickly. These guys come with a well-thought out story, however, they’ll go into unnecessary details even when you haven’t asked them. This is also a common trait when someone feels that you don’t believe them. Since they want their story to sound as believable as possible, they’ll talk your ear off.
2. They’ll Force A Connection
During the first few minutes of meeting, a conman will try to make themselves more relatable to you. They’ll use phrases like “we” and “us” while talking which creates an illusion of a relationship between you and them. Naturally, this will make you let your guard down hence exposing you to their trickery.
3. The Deal Is Too Good
Sometimes, the red flag could be right in front of you but sometimes we get blinded by false promises/greed. A conman never promises realistic things. For them, it’s always going to work. Whether it’s a large investment or purchase, they’re always too positive about the outcome. Additionally, they usually say that the deal won’t cost you anything. As the saying goes, when a deal is too good, think twice.
My classmate aliibiwa same way na washosho wawili wa maombi. She lost phone, camera, school fees plus all money she had.
Another one akaibiwa laptop same way.
Alafu mimi kama legend nlipewa phone iko na ugali na huko 2nk stage.
— The Dan L Gör (@arteta2giroud) September 7, 2020
I remember back then some Nigerian conmen used to pull some tricks, wanakuuzia simu then they change their mind wanasema urudishe simu wanakupea fake money.
— Edu♎ 🇰🇪 (@eduugee) September 7, 2020
4. Sense of urgency
They create a sense of urgency by giving you limited time so that you won’t second guess your decision. They know that if you have more time to think, you’ll most likely catch on to the con. If they’re telling you about a job offer, they’ll insist that you can only meet their “connection” on that day only.
5. They’re Well Dressed
Be wary of overly nice people in suits because of late, this has been their modus operandi. Since a conman mostly targets working-class people, they have to look the part. They’ll will be decently dressed, well-groomed and eloquent. They might not be well-educated but due to their false confidence, they can talk you into a deal.
Alot of conmen hii Nairobi hua wanadress up in suits and ties. Usiwai Amini msee ako na suti hii Nairobi
— Jobu (@ItsJobu) September 10, 2020
Nairobi conmen ruined such a good shoe. pic.twitter.com/bk6xjkHZW5
— Under Construction (@Trackmann) December 31, 2019
6. They’ll Offer A Small Favour
A con man will be more than willing to help you, despite being a stranger and whether or not you asked for the favour. They’ll mostly offer to buy lunch or pay for transport to a specific place. This is to lure you to a place where they’re familiar with so that they can rob you. It also makes you indebted to them which makes it hard for you to say no to whatever they are proposing.
7. They Don’t Have All Their Facts Right
In most cases, conmen aren’t well-learned or aware of professional terms. Therefore, a conman will most likely have a poor grasp, if any, of whichever agenda they’re trying to push. Don’t brush it off as confusion since it could mean you’re dealing with a conman.
8. They Deflect Questions
If you ask simple questions but they avoid answering, it’s more likely you’re dealing with a conman. Since they already have a rehearsed story, any questions will only lead to more loopholes. Therefore, instead of giving a straight-forward answer, they’ll either change the subject or throw shadows.
9. They Maintain Intense Eye Contact
Most normal people look away once in a while during a conversation. However, a conman will follow your gaze throughout the conversation. They’ll try to convince that they’re telling the truth by doing everything in the book including maintain eye contact. This also makes them appear friendlier and trustworthy.
10. Do Your Research
We live in a digital age where you can google just about anything. If you suspect you’re being conned, do a simple search that will reveal whether the person is telling the truth.