Just picture this, after the passing of a loved one, the family places a notice in the obituary pages with precise description of the deceased, the family members and the family home where burial planning meetings are taking place. Also included are the telephone contacts of the Treasurer for financial support..
The following day a smartly dressed lady shows up with a driver, enters the home like any mourner would do and asks for spouse to the deceased, mentioning the actual names. Depending on who is in the house, the lady says she is a friend of the family or the departed person and asks for the child calling by name..
Then the lady pretending to console the child slowing walks out of the compound, and before anyone notices, the lady vanishes with the child….That is the moment the family realizes a child has just been kidnapped, no one remembers the car reg.no or any details. The gang will then contact the family for a ransom (of course they know there are donations for funeral fund).
The above is a true scenario that recently happened and very scary how evil and daring these criminals can be. There may be slight variations but the bottom line is criminals obtaining information from newspapers or social media, trace the family and pretending to be mourners use crude means (like chemical sprays to confuse and obtain bank/ mpesa pins, kidnappings etc) to steal and extort money from mourning families.
Please be extra vigilant particularly:
1) Avoid sharing private information like phone numbers or family residence details on newspaper or social media;
2) Ensure there is a responsible adult in the family home and if possible persons assigned security responsibility during burial preparations;
3) Never allow or entertain anyone claiming to be a colleague or friend of the deceased before verifying with a reliable living person;
4)Never accompany a stranger for ‘shopping’ – they use this trick to kidnap and defraud;
5) Sensitise kids about stranger danger- never follow or receive gifts from strangers;
6) Ensure to know persons offering to assist overwhelmed/ fainting members on the burial day – people have lost valuables or even kidnapped in the process;
7) Always remain vigilant and keep contacts of nearest security/police station to alert them in case suspicious characters are spotted.