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How Desperate Kenyan Women Looking for Love are Losing Cash to Scammers

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A Kenyan woman searching for a husband using a placard

A Kenyan woman searching for a husband using a placard

How far should women go in their search for love and life partners? Well, this question needs a serious rethink after several women on some social media dating sites complained of losing their hard earned money to fraudsters who pretend to be interested for a love relationship.

In one social media dating group, dubbed “Singles Searching 40-80” a woman who is searching for love raised a concern on how some men have been approaching her and after expressing their interests, they start claiming of being in a financial quagmire and thus need assistance to refund it later. In a particular case, Ms Diana Muthoni as she calls herself had made a post seeking a partner and a certain man expressed interests and they started chatting. The first day started with normal familiarization and background information.

The following day, Ms Diana received a greeting message from the same money of which she responded amicably. However, when she checked his profile, she realized that the picture in his profile is of woman, to her amazement. She asked him what he is doing in a dating group when he already has a wife as per the profile picture. He simply brassed the picture, saying it’s that of his late wife who died while giving birth to their last born daughter.

However, within a few minutes, the man sent him an sms claiming to have an emergency and requested for sh. 500 so that he can send to his child who was supposed to come for mid-term. She told him she didn’t have it and he went on to request for sh.200 of which she refused, and told him she is broke. After a few seconds, she found out that he had already blocked her on social media.

The post elicited a barrage of reactions from social media users and what caught the attention of many were a lot of women who confessed to have been swindled of their money, some even their lifetime savings to men who pretended to have been ready to shower them with love.

Esther Mutheu, a resident of Ongata Rongai for instance, met a man on social media after the death of her husband. The man seemed to be well off as he was working in a reputable and well-paying Kenyan firm. He also showered her with real life and promised to marry her with her four children. This is something she had yearned for and was ready to do everything to have a family.

“I had asked God for the right man and when this came along, I thought he was the right person so I was ready for him as my husband” Esther told the Nairobian adding that “ I was later disappointed after learning that the guy had a family, a wife and children back home” .

Sadly, for Esther, who is a professional teacher, this revelation came too late; after he had already impregnated her and after he had convinced her to sell her academy so that he can top up to complete his house project which he was going on with.

“Since I had already considered him as my husband, I gladly bought his idea that I sell my academy which had started picking after started it from scratch. I managed to get a buyer who bought it for sh. 100000 which I handed over to her my new man” Esther told the Nairobian.

Interestingly, upon completion of the house, the man’s wife came from home, together with her kids. She realized something was amiss when her calls to him were not going through. Upon visiting his house which is not far away from where she lives, she found a woman and kids as the man had already gone to job. However, she did not disclose who she was to him, only pretending she was in search of a house.

“After this encounter, I immediately learnt that I have been duped, my academy gone just like that, I have no job and no husband... this life is crazy” Esther laments.

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Another lady by name Jane Adongo confessed to have lost her money to a scammer. After two days of knowing each other and promising that he will marry her, her boyfriend sent her a message that he was about to die of hunger and he needed sh 200. Out of sympathy for her newfound love, the lady sent him sh. 200. The following day, the same guy called her requesting for sh 500. This time round the lady did not have the money so she told him so but interestingly, he blocked her on Facebook.

Those are not isolated cases; in February this year (2021), a 32-year-old man, Paul Kihika Wangari caused sensation on social media after selling off a car valued at valued at Sh5.7 million bought by his girlfriend. From his own confession, he did this because the lover, who was identified as Ms Hellen Akinyi Omit sold the expensive vehicle because she had refused giving him money he needed for personal issues.

Ms Hellen Akinyi reported the matter to police who arrested and charged Kihika for stealing the said motor vehicle. However, he told the police that the complainant was his girlfriend and that she had given him the car plus some sh 80000 for maintenance of the said vehicle to and oversee some renovations of her project in Mombasa. According to Kihika, the disagreements came when he requested for more money for his personal use. When she refused giving her the money, that is when he opted to dispose the car

"I did not consult her before I disposed of the car," the accused told the court.

Criminologist Vincent Obwocha, a trainer with the Association of Fraud Examiners Kenya claims that there is a trend of men prying on desperate, financially well to do women on social media by posing off as potential lovers/partners. According to him, the fraudsters identify their potential victims through dating sites. They check the profiles of their targets where they deduce the financial position or jobs such people do. The culprit will then express interest in a relationship and from the discussions and exchanges, he will ascertain how much money that would be having and how to go about the scam.

“Although majority of those who get scammed are men, women are also occasional victims” Obwocha informs the Nairobian adding that in most cases, the fraudster will focus on taking the person offline and coax them away from the prescripts of the social media and continue the relationship through phone communications such as calls, sms or wattsup”

In February this year (2021), an Eldoret court warned widows to avoid a man who had swindled property from a number of widows.

The fraudster identified as Vincent Mogambi was sued at a local court in Eldoret by widow Elizabeth Kaviva who was defrauded of her property. In the landmark ruling, Justice Boaz Olao advised women what the Bible says about men who take advantage of widows. “The message that this court wishes to send to the widows in Eldoret is this: “Don’t touch VKM with a ten-foot pole. Avoid him at all costs,” Justice Olao said in his ruling.

In her court testimony, Kaviva said that following the death of her husband in 1997, she met one, Vincent Mogambi who started showering her with love. She took him in and started cohabiting with him since she was lonely. During this cohabitation, he persuaded her to borrow money from banks and use her savings to purchase land in which to build her house and some rentals.

However, without her knowledge, Vincent fraudulently abused the trust she was accorded by the widow and registered the suit property in his name. Upon the knowledge of this revelation, Elizabeth moved to court and pleaded that Vincent be compelled to transfer the land title to her name.

The judge described VKM who moved to Eldoret from Webuye as a man who preys on widows and other women who are desperate for love only to steal from them. The judges noted that widows and other women have a right to seek love and get a helper and get someone who can not only give them the support they need but also the love they desperately need.

The judge warned men who use the opportunity to swindle women who are looking for love out of their resources, money or property and informed them that they will receive a worse punishment.

The message that this court wishes to send to the widows in Eldoret is this: “Don’t touch Vincent Kiriago Mogambi within a ten-foot pole. Avoid him at all costs!” read the first paragraph of Justice Boaz Oloo's judgement.

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