Yesterday 15th July I received a message from Telephone Number +255764848389 that read like this: You have won Kshs.100,000/- plus Nokia 6230i. Call us on 0729-999999 or 0728-540841 www.safaricom.co.ke. That was such a coincidence because just the previous night I had watched a shocking confession from an inmate who claimed that he had made Kshs.12Million, bought a 32 acre piece of land and 3 matatus all with proceeds from the above SMS con game.
When I received the message, I knew it was one of those but I decided to call the number provided just for the kicks. The guy said that he was at the Safaricom Headquarters and that I had indeed won the said prizes. I asked him what I had done to win since I had not taken part in any Safaricom contest and he said that my phone number had just been picked at random by their computers. I had quite a number of questions for the conman – what a nice way to satisfy my curiosity and have a good laugh while at it. We actually conversed for about 2 minutes. It went something like this – in Swahili though:
- What have I done to win this money and phone? You don’t have to have done anything. Your number was picked at random by our computers.
- Is Safaricom running a secret contest or do their systems just periodically pick on lucky numbers? You’re just lucky that your number has been picked.
- Are you aware of the prisons con game that is under investigation? Yes but this is different. I’m calling from Safaricom headquarters.
- How come you’re using a different number from the one used by Safaricom to notify it’s winners? Sometimes Safaricom assigns different numbers for different purposes.
- How come the initial message came from a Tanzanian number? Safaricom headquarters can use any number within the roaming area.
- When you win something from Safaricom or any other company, do they really ask you to call them or are they the ones who call you? They get in touch with you.
- So what do you want now? I send you Kshs.2000/- worth of airtime? No just give me your full name and ID number so I can send you your prize money and the Nokia.
By this time he sounded like he was beginning to get worked up. Me I was having some dangerous fun although I started getting scared at some point. What if these are actually the police doing investigations? What if he’s able to trace my number like in the movies? What if my number is now a marked one? Anyway, when he asked for my full names and ID number I was done with the freak and disconnected the call.
Seriously our prisons are fast becoming money making institutions. It seems being locked up does not make a difference to these criminals as far as getting rich is concerned. Even at the height of investigations into the cell phones saga, and despite the nabbing of over 350 cell phones and assorted SIM cards by police the game is still going on.
Can the prison authorities explain how so many cell phones land in the cells in maximum security prisons?