Thousands of innocent Kenyans have fallen prey to cons serving time at the Kamiti Maximum Prison at least once.
An exposé by Citizen TV’s Lulu Hassan dubbed “Kamiti Call Centre” revealed the inner workings of the scam that has seen locals and foreigners lose millions of shillings.
The anonymous source who spoke to Ms Hassan revealed that the inmates conduct their dealings in the prison’s Block A.
There, the source said, is a busy area where no one should be caught idling.
The inmates use a particular brand of phone for the extra sim card slots and features that help alter voices.
Apparently, some inmates are good at sneaking in contraband including phones and drugs but cannot pull off a con and vice versa.
One of the convicts in the footage aired on Citizen TV was David Bett who is serving time for robbery with violence.
Mr Bett is seen making a call pretending to be a foreigner.
“Some of the victims marvel at the chance of hooking up with a foreigner, even if they don’t understand English very well, they are usually very happy listening to the accent. You have to entice the woman or man you’re targeting with romantic messages for like a week until they desire to meet you,” the source intimates.
“When they ask you to visit them, that’s when you bring up issues like the cost of travelling. You can tell them that you are en route from Lodwar and ask them to help you with some money because the petrol attendants don’t take card payments.”
Other cons include cargo transport and the most lucrative one is the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) recruitment exercise.
The inmates prey on millions of unemployed youths and their families.
“The fraudsters can send one message to up to 1,000 contacts by guessing and selecting numbers randomly,” he stated.
“When there is ongoing recruitment in KDF, you draft a message informing the recipient of the recruitment drive and asking them to send their child’s details for special consideration then send the text to the 1,000 contacts. How many people want their children to join KDF, very many.
“For some victims who are a little stubborn, they are given fake documents said to be from a KDF coordinator in order to convince them,” said the source.
The elaborate scheme also involves others outside the prison as well as prison guards who are also seen in the amateur videos.
The guards, the source said, can make at least Sh5,000 a day from the scams.
The rogue prison warders also make some Sh2,000 for helping the conmen hide the phones.
The gadgets are hidden in the ground in relatively deep holes, videos show.
As for the monies obtained from the well orchestrated games, the source said, there are individuals on standby at ATMs waiting to withdraw the cash.