Police in Kwale probe online hotel booking fraudsters

Saturday December 30 2017

By FADHILI FREDRICK
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Police in Kwale County are investigating an incident where unscrupulous persons posing as hotel owners tricked several people seeking reservations of thousands of shillings.

A family was conned Sh19,000 after they made an online reservation which turned out to be fake.

Mrs Waithera Kamau and her family found themselves in the hands of the online conmen as she tried to book a hotel room during the Christmas festive season at a hotel in Diani.

Due to the influx of visitors to the coastal town this festive season, most of the hotels in Diani had been fully booked, forcing Mrs Kamau to book online.

Later, she realised that she had been a victim of an online scam as she had been provided with fake details, and had made her payment through M-Pesa.

Mrs Kamau is not alone.

It has emerged that many holidaymakers from all over the world have fallen victim to the racket.

CAUTION

A hotel manager, George Baya, said another couple coming for honeymoon were conned of Sh42,000 after making an online booking.

Mr Baya cautioned the public to be extra careful when they come across holiday package rates placed on tree trunks and lamp posts as this is one of the ways used by the conmen.

“Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new opportunities, making use of the internet to con people of cash," he said.

The crooks are said to be contacting people for them to make reservations and thereafter ask them to send money via M-Pesa.

Msambweni OCPD Joseph Chebusit said the tricksters have been conning holidaymakers of cash amounting to thousands of shillings.

The police boss said investigations into the matter have already started and they are working with hotel owners to establish the people behind the scam.

“We have taken the numbers of those involved and we are following the matter to establish who they are,” said Mr Chebusit.