Kenyans should be very careful when shopping online for various items, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has warned.
This follows reports of several fraudulent and suspicious online stores. The Authority identified some sites alongside mobile apps that claim to sell goods and services when in a real sense, they represent fraudsters and criminals enticing consumers through “amazing” deals through email, phone calls, text messages as well as the social media.
The warning comes at a time when many websites are crowded with ads that will ask for personal information when clicked. These sites steal personal information like mobile phone numbers, emails, and passwords for use in criminal activities.
According to Francis Wangusi, the Director General of CA, these online stores often require one to make a payment for the item or the service.
“Consumers should be wary of online stores that lack a conspicuous and registered physical address or those that do not offer customer care numbers along with shops whose mobile numbers, contact email addresses, and names of websites are unavailable,” Wangusi said.
The widespread of these fraudulent online stores happens on the social media. They use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few, to market and lure more customers.
The CA, therefore, has warned consumers against installing apps on their mobile phone if the sources have quibbles and are questionable. It is important to seek verification of the authenticity of the online store through friends, family, and even on the internet reviews.
The Authority also cautioned those sending money or making payments to individuals posing to be representatives of such shops. Additionally, while browsing the internet, one should desist from clicking on or proceeding with ads that ask for personal information such as bank accounts, mobile phone numbers, secret PINs, usernames, passwords, and emails.
The Authority made this announcement after several customers complained and reported online fraud incidents to the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre.