Cofek has today received two complaints of fraudsters calling their victims and wiping their M-Pesa accounts using automatically generated short codes or passwords. This is how it goes.

A victim is called by a total stranger purporting to be working for any of the mobile service providers, claiming they have won cash even for promotions they were not involved in.

To trap their would-be victims or unsuspecting phone subscribers, the caller cautions the victim never to share the PIN even as they jointly plan to transfer the proceeds of a non-existent cash. That gives a sense of false confidence.

According to the victims accounts, the callers appear "fine, graduates and people with either a link or experience in customer care of mobile service providers". They add "unlike the Kamiti prisoon fraudsters, the latest callers are not in a hurry and call the prey repeatedly without switching off their numbers".

Once their prey are convinced, they ask them whether or not they have any money in their M-Pesa accounts so as to avoid exceeding the allowable holding limit. They are so clever in asking not for the exact amount but round figure. Once assured, they proceed to the next step according to the script.

It is then that their prey are asked to call #555555 to have the funds transfer process commenced. The caller would then receive "secret password" a combination of digits and letters. Incidentally and to confuse their prey more, such number comes from a customized short-code christened "Equity Bank" as was the case with today's victims.

Other instructions follow and the victim is asked repeatedly and "genuinely" whether or not he/she has received the cash. It is then that the victim discovers his account balance.

Today, one of the victims lost Sh9,999 in the hope of getting an additional Sh50,000. Another one lost Sh18,500. Many got unreported. Such victims fall for the trap either due to greed but mostly because they are not fully sensitized.