The Communications Authority (CA) on Tuesday asked Kenyans to exercise caution when shopping online, saying fraudsters have created look-a-like e-commerce websites and mobile applications to steal from unsuspecting buyers.
In a statement, CA said unscrupulous individuals have created fake mobile apps and websites that purport to be engaging in e-commerce which they use to entice unsuspecting buyers with non-existent deals.
“The online shopping criminals entice unsuspecting buyers through deals via email, SMS, social media pages and telephone. They also request a registration fee for goods or services. Watch out for unavailable physical addresses, customer care helplines, suspicious telephone numbers, email addresses and websites,” the statement read.
The authority has advised Kenyans to take precautionary measures by verifying information about online shops before making any payments, desisting from sending money to phone numbers that pose as sales representatives and avoiding mobile apps with unverified sources.
CA has also cautioned online buyers against revealing personal information such as passwords, usernames and ATM PIN to third parties.
Further, the authority has asked Kenyans to be verifying information about online stores by checking online reviews and third party comments.
Suspicious websites and applications should be reported to relevant authorities, the CA said.
CA said victims must urgently get in touch via email [email protected] or through telephone hotlines 0703042700, 0730172700.
Use of online platforms to do business as well as promote non-human contact when dispensing public services within government departments has created a new platform where fraudsters hide behind the internet to commit crimes.
CA named social media sites Facebook, Twitter, Instagram among others as avenues used to perpetrate the fraudulent schemes.