In a series of letters from African journalists, Kenyan broadcaster Waihiga Mwaura writes about cryptocurrency fraud, including one traded in his name to escape investors.
An unknown doctor called me and asked a Kenyan millionaire if he had interviewed a new Bitcoin product on an unconventional website.
I was worried and sighed. He knew, along with a local millionaire, that he was the victim of an online scam two years ago: I supported the cryptocurrency trading platform.
Despite best efforts to warn Kenyans about fraud through social media platforms, scammers seem to have continued to change their web addresses and strategies to target vulnerable Kenyans.
With a mixture of strong desire for risk and hopelessness, many fall into a Ponzi scheme that initially looks like an answer to prayer.
U.S. citizens arrested
The latest scam discovered in Kenya was about an app named Amazon Web Worker Africa.Claimed to be an affiliate of Amazon Inc and was accessible from mobile and web applications.
It had nothing to do with the world’s leading retailers.
A few weeks ago, when an Amazon Web Worker investor woke up, he noticed that the app was removed from the Google Play store without official notice, and that thousands of dollars of investment are no longer available.
The suggestion was simple-you can get paid by introducing the app to others, and you can also get paid by saving money on the app. The security of the principal investment was kept, and a certain return was promised.
As soon as the app disappeared, hundreds of Kenyans flooded various social media platforms to raise concerns and lamented that close friends and family introduced them to “investment opportunities.”
The good news is that Kenyan authorities have announced that they have arrested a 50-year-old American allegedly involved in what has become known as an “Amazon Web Worker scam.”
Police said she was suspected of being part of a syndicate and was charged with money laundering and cyber fraud.
Her arrest after she jumped into a major airport in the capital Nairobi gave some investors hope that the money would be recovered.
Investment fraud in Kenya is now commonplace, which may be related to the unemployment rate.
Pre-pandemic data from the National Bureau of Statistics of Kenya show that 40% of young Kenyans lost their jobs in February 2020, and the employment situation is even worse as the pandemic reaches the third wave. , The latest data has not been released yet.
Fraud can come in all forms and scales, from profitable land transactions, once-in-a-lifetime agricultural investments, unplanned home jackpots, online forex trading schemes and, mysteriously, cryptocurrency mining schemes.
The field of cryptocurrency trading has also been plagued by controversy. Two Bitcoin Ponzi schemes that have collapsed in Kenya in the last two years..
What is Ponzi scheme?
Former investor Initially rewarded with a high rate of return, but to maintain that level of return, more investors need to participate in the scheme
More investors They are forced to participate, but they receive less money from the investment because their investment is used to pay the return of the original investor and inflate the scheme.Then they seek more investors to increase returns
Scheme collapse When the number of new investors declines and returns are exhausted
One of the cryptocurrency scams, investors, most Kenyans, are said to have lost more than $ 25 million and couldn’t get their money back.
Talking to an investor who lost nearly $ 30,000 in an African crypto scheme, he was surprised that his desire for risk still drives him to another attempt if the proposal is good enough. I thought it would be.
If people have such a mentality, it’s no wonder they continue to lose money.
More letters from Africa: