Thursday, 5 September 2013

How to Bargain with a Kenyan Thief

This is a post from NAIROBIBLOG I read and decided to pass it on...............

Benson Kariuki of
0723587757. He stole money
from me and is absolutely
confident that I will never
find him.
#MPesatheft is rampant in
Kenya and there seems to
be no way to stop it.
Safaricom previously
implemented automatic
transaction reversals when a
customer reported having
sent money to the wrong
number, but our ingenious
thieves then started
recalling money they had
paid to merchants and
Safaricom had to stop the
service. The thugs won….I
don’t think so!!!
BECAUSE, you and I are
about to do something
about this menace.
You have, at least once, sent
money to the wrong
number. Before this
incident, I had too. I
accidentally bought
someone phone credit worth
200/-. I texted said person
and asked them politely to
return the money. I got no
reply, and at the time, felt
that there was nothing I
could do. Besides, I had
heard of people losing
15000/-, 20,000/-, money
they desperately needed for
medical emergencies or
school fees. 200/- did not
seem like much then.
But last Sunday when I
accidentally sent several
thousands to a number
belonging to one Benson
Kariuki, my stomach fell to
my feet. This wasn’t 200/-. I
immediately called the
MPesa line provided by
Safaricom. Please give me a
moment to bash the
stupidity of our largest
telecom. SOOOOO SO
my money was laying in
some stranger’s account,
Safaricom’s robot lady was
telling me about all the
services she can offer. Took
two tries to get through to
customer care, where again
I had to provide a list of
details before the young
man on the line declared,
“Sorry Madam, inaonekana
I remember shouting,
“What? what? what?” as the
young man calmly (and
might I add, insensitively)
asked if there was anything
else he could do for me and
then hang up
Ten minutes. Ten small
minutes, is all the time it
took Benson Kariuki to run
to the nearest MPesa agent
and withdraw money he
knew was not his. And all
Safaricom could say to me
was go to the police and
report the theft, they know
what to do. Can the police
find Benson Kariuki? Please
raise your hand if you think
this possible?
At this juncture, you must
be wondering, “What the
hell CAN WE DO, Makena?”
We can stop being victims
and start sharing this post
like a problem. It is time we
said NO, and created our
own protection system
against MPesa theft.
In Kenya, we are at the
mercy of MPesa thieves,
pickpockets, muggers, the
police, the city council etc.
We are hard at the business
of bargaining with various
kinds of thieves. The matatu
conductors who somehow
forget to give back your
change until you ask for it
with a stern face; the
government employees who
need a small “thank you” for
providing a copy of the one
piece of paper you need to
fill; the guys who “help” you
push your car when you are
stuck somewhere; the armed
robber who rapes your
daughter and wife and
draws a gun to blow your
brains away and last but not
least, our elected officials
who threaten to paralyze
our country if we don’t pay
them such and such
Are you tired of bargaining
with thieves? I am. After
that unhelpful phonecall
with Safaricom, I texted the
following to Benson Kariuki
at his number 0723587757
I am giving you one
hour to return the
money you just
withdrew illegally from
my account. After that
I will report your
details tot he police,
Just you wait…
I then called Safaricom and
asked for his ID number.
And of course, they said no,
which is good because I
know my privacy is equally
protected. But I already had
an idea. My second text to
Benson Kariuki read:
Counting down. After
reporting you to the
police, I will put your
details on twitter and
facebook. Then I will
make a youtube video
and make sure you
can’t get a job or do
business anywhere.
Someone who knows
you will eventually
bring me to your
house. Hide
somewhere deep my
friend. Very deep.
This was the text that got
Benson, who had previously
switched off his phone, to
call me back. He was pissed
off. Very. I mean, I had
made a mistake, sending
him my money, so why had
I not called him and politely
asked that he return it???
What? Guy, you went and
stole my money then
switched off your phone.
Hello, did you hear the part
“You stole my money.” He
said he would think about
returning it and hang up.
He called again and shouted
and hang up at least 3 times
before he finally sent me
part of the money, claiming
that the rest had been
deducted by Safaricom
Customer Care. I did call
Safaricom again to confirm
that this was not the case. A
different young man said to
me, ” He has returned that
much, you are okay, you
should be happy. Many of
them never return it.” I gave
him an earful of msomo. So
this is the attitude at
Safaricom–good to know…
No, as I said to Benson, I
am not satisfied with
recovering part of my
money. I want every single
last cent back. And this is
non-negotiable and should
be non-negotiable for all of
My last text to Benson
Kariuki was a clear
explanation of the
consequences of having his
name on social media:
These charges you are
claiming Safaricom has
withdrawn do not
exist. I have spoken to
customer care. I want
back all my money.
And be warned that
once your name starts
circulating on social
media, I won’t be able
to stop it. You will end
up on T.V. and radio.
Benson’s response, and I
quote: “Do whatever you
want. Let’s see what you can
What can I do? What can
you do? Share this post
with your Kenyan friends
and encourage them to
share with their friends.
Benson Kariuki lives in
Kenya, and Kenya isn’t that
big. We have to find him,
we absolutely must. This will
be a signal to him and to all
others like him, who have at
one point or another
committed MPesa theft, that
there is no anonymity in the
crowd. Someone who knows
someone who knows
someone you know, also
knows Benson Kariuki of
0723587757. Let’s show him
and others like him that we
can do something about
MPesa theft. Every share of
this post will
1. establish a CITIZENS’
protection system
against mobile
transfers fraud.
Henceforth, you’ll only
have to post the name
and number of your
MPesa thief on social
media, and he/she will
be found.
2. send Safaricom a
strong signal that it
must find a viable
system of protecting
its clients from theft.
(Something as simple
as letting our mobile
phones pick up the
recipient’s name in
that last check before
we hit send for MPesa)
MPesa theft. Turn Benson
Kariuki into a hashtag by
sharing this post with your
friends. Feel free to leave a
comment below if you have
any thoughts about MPesa
theft. Or join the facebook
group Project Mpesa Thief

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