Detectives from the Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) have arrested a fraud suspect believed to have been running a high-tech mobile phone syndicate and even hacked into the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission, IEBC voter register.
He and others not arrested, stole personal information belonging to over 60,000 Kenyans from Western Kenya and used the information to gain access to victims’ SIM cards.
“…the suspects had hacked into the IEBC voter register, and acquired personal details of 61,617registered voters from a county in western Kenya,” said DCI in a social media update to Kenyans.
The fraudster, whose accomplices escaped the police dragnet, was arrested with a gunny bag full of mobile phone SIM cards belonging to all mobile networks operating in Kenya- Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom.
The arrest followed a multi-pronged operation between sleuths and Safaricom investigators after they swindled a mobile money transfer agent a huge amount of cash using the high-tech mobile phone theft.
“The arrest followed a joint operation by detectives & Safaricom investigators after the suspect swindled an MPESA agent, an unspecified amount of money,
“The fraudster masquerading as an M-PESA customer care attendant called the agent & lured her into dialing unspecified codes (after which her account was wiped clean),” said DCI.
After hacking the IEBC voter register, the fraudsters are said to extract mobile phone numbers, names, dates of birth, ID numbers of Kenyans then use the same information to swap SIM cards then access victims’ online and mobile money accounts to siphon funds.
The suspect, identified only as Kiprop was arrested in Juja, known to be one of Kenya’s notorious cyber-crime hotspots.
While Kenya’s telecommunication companies have tried to demand personal information before registering one’s SIM card, it appears the lack of strong data privacy laws in Kenya still makes it possible for the same to be stolen from various databases like the IEBC voter register then used maliciously.
The development comes days after Kenyans raised concerns after many found out they are registered members of different political parties even though they never participated.
ODM leader Raila Odinga’s son was among those affected with his name wrongly appearing on Amani National Congress members’ register.