Really Bad Customer Care … or A Really Good Scam!

Safaricon - The Bitter Option

A few weeks ago, I got a forward about how someone had been conned through his phone. Apparently, some guy called him claiming to be from Customer Care and gave him some story about green sim cards, black sim cards and awards, then got the guy’s name, ID number and DOB. Dude’s DOB was his M-Pesa PIN number.

He was then given a code to key in – *33# or something like that – and asked not to use his number for ten minutes. A while later, the guy’s wife calls him on an alternate number claiming that some random guy is demanding Ksh 10,000 for his release. The couple try to call Customer Care but all calls have been barred and the Mpesa account has been drained.

No, I don’t know how they got the guy’s wife’s number. Probably an inside job.

Today, I took Ksh 7,000 out of my Mpesa account, which is the largest amount I’ve ever drawn. I didn’t think about it much, except I felt a little nervous since it wasn’t my usual Mpesa point. I usually draw close to home, just in case.

About an hour later, I got a text message. The sender name was Safaricom and there was no number. It said:

Dear Customer, kindly provide us with additional M-pesa information by following the simple method that will be sent to you shortly. The sms is not chargeable.

When I received the sms I thought hmm, weird.

A while later, a second text came in from ‘Safaricom’. This one read:

SMS your information at no charge to 232 in this format: Gender*Year of birth*Nationality*City*Physical address*Land Mark*Postal Address*Alternative Tel.No*

Ok. Land mark?!?!

I’m generally pretty paranoid, so my first thought is con. I was with my brothers, so I asked what they thought, but guys can be annoyingly blasé about things sometimes. One laughed and said:

‘They probably added land mark so when they ask for ransom they can say, “We know where you live, behind the big red post office box under the Mugumo tree.” ‘

The other said: ‘Just ignore it. If it’s important, they’ll call.”

My reaction was to call Customer Care incessantly [well, ok, I actually called three times] to find out if they knew about this, but I couldn’t get through.

As I think more, I wonder why they were insisting on ‘no charge’. It isn’t something Safaricom would say. They’re always more like **Terms and conditions apply.** And what’s all this 232 business? Why would they send two separate sms[es]?

Plus, apart from the land mark, Safaricom has all that info based on my Mpesa registration and 53 lost sim cards. They know who I am, so they wouldn’t say ‘Dear Customer.’

[Though if Safaricom sent me a text that started with, ‘Dear 3CB’ I’d probably grab a metal spike and crucifix’]

Its been hours, I still haven’t found Customer Care or my mystery texter, and I’m still wondering what they want to do with my land mark …

♫ Strange things are ha-pp-ening♫

For more information on 3CB, click here. No land marks involved.

26 thoughts on “Really Bad Customer Care … or A Really Good Scam!

  1. The details they are asking for, (tell-tale sign being ‘Landmark’) seem like the ones they required from subscribers for SIM registration but then again you can’t be too careful.
    If it’s not affecting your normal safaricom services, ignore the sms. Like one of the ‘annoyingly blasé’ guys you were with said “…If it’s important, they’ll call”

  2. Say…have you registered your line?

    I suspect your Mpesa application form could be missing some details…Thus the weird request for more information.

    In most cases, only the operator can operate a 3 digit shortcode like 232. Thats not to say that it can’t be used by a random individual as some kind of side hustle deal for scamming peeps.

    I sent a blank text just to see what would happen and true enough…no charges were levied. The number (+232) texted back saying “please fill and send the requested information….”

    Maybe they really ARE out to get you..

  3. Let them call you if they care(after all, aren’t they called customer care)!
    I always wonder loudly, why is it that scams are rife on the ‘Green Network’? I mean, we’ve got an ‘Orange’, a ‘Black’ and a ‘Red’ networks yet Safaricom has been always on the receiving end.
    I’m on the ‘Red’ Network a.k.a ‘A Wonderful World’ and I’ve never received such calls except one I remember of a guy calling & telling me that I need to buy a scratch card and send him the serial number in order to get my ‘award’. I just told him to wait for that… and since then, I’m sure, he’s still waiting!

    Now to your case, giving them a landmark means you want someone to cause untold pain to your family… by claiming exponential ransom, that looks like a telephone number.

    Ignore the bastards and morons!

  4. 3CB your argument is baseless. Even your cashier at the bank or your friend in your company HR can have your name, ID number and DOB. The fact that the caller claim to call from safcom does not mean they are accomplice.

    Secondly, getting an sms from ‘safaricom’ simply means it came from safaricom. Why all this walabooo about 232 being conmen even before you enquire ! Sim registration was ordered for by the VP so if you wanna hear your friend and not submit, up to you when CCK orders you sim disabled.

    Safaricom has sppent millions trying to tell everyone not to disclose their mpesa pin to anyone, not even care staff. But Kenyans as usual, get rich quick or die trying, listen to people who tell them they have won 10M yet they have not participated even in any draw. I once worked at one of their retail shops and a learned man actually accised me of calling him stupid when I told him that an sms he had received that he had won 250K was just but a hoax. I sometimes feel very sad that some of the people who write here are our futuree leaders.

    Finally, mgala muue lakini haki yake mpe. If you feel sweet and intelligent, dont blame another man for you woes in life. Be a man. Swallow you pride 3CB

  5. let me try bottle the dust here..safcom does not ask for details via are always required to go to your nearest agent ama their centres and furnish them with the details..

    the latest scam iv heard is the one that exploits the flash sms feature on your receive a kawaida text, but the funny thing is that its auto-deleted after you read.

    and since its not charged, guys are sending them to guys and claiming to have deposited moola into ther mpesa accounts and ask them to KINDLY SEND IT BACK…

    HAVE A SCAM-CONSCIOUS weekend……lovely blog….

    • I just received a call from Mpesa management. They have categorically:

      (a) Stated that the texts came from them
      (b) Advised me to use 234 to contact Mpesa customer care
      (c) Requested that instead of blogging, I should send them an email if Customer care doesn’t go through
      (d) Requested that I do a post emphasising that it was not a scam

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  7. i just did the whole 232 thing… N filled like 2letters and this was their reply;
    Dear Customer, the received text format is incorrect. The correct format is: Gender*YOB*Nationality*City*Physical Address*Landmark*Postal Address*Alternative No

  8. mhhh ive been wondering how long before they start scamming ple with mpesa n registered sim card info considering u give ID no…..identity theft is going to become the new trend

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  10. I counted to ten as I read your post……I decided not to get angry…’re human after all. I always tell my folks that only God would understand the concept of Customer Care.

    3CB, Kenya is special…….I am in customer care and on my end I have never understood why you dont get through because the moment I put on those headsets, I will talk myself to infinity…. People call for all manner of reasons(refer to Kenyans are special….)……’my wife is cheating on me’, ‘why cant I get through to you?(he’s talking to me??), ‘why does a booster have a red light at night?’, ‘how is it in Nairobi? Its raining in Kisumu’……the list is endless. I talk till I’m blue…. There are about 1000 of us talking….

    Mayhaps, there should be a pre-customercare connection where people with ‘urgent’ issues are vetted and allowed to get through to me(just a thought..)

    Anyway, 232 is for real, Mpesa registration does not require all the info that the government asked for. Btw, the govt has instructed the service providers to bar subscribers who do not comply….

    I stopped fretting when such blogs are posted. We are human after all….

    • You have a very interesting perspective, and it’s nice to hear the other side, but it still doesn’t justify Safaricom’s initial response. All they had to do was post the second-last paragraph of your comment and all would have been fine.

      The reason I didn’t get through is because the 1000 of you have to attend to other people. So ideally, there should be more channels and more customer service workers, since clearly, 1000 people aren’t enough to serve 16 million customers.

      I’m not saying your job is easy. I’ve done it, so I know how often you want to punch a caller. But since you’ve chosen/been hired/been forced to do it, you have to take the crap that comes with it. I won’t apologise for irking you, because when I call customer care, I expect to get through. That’s what it’s there for.

      About the crazy callers, I would say have fun with it. Easier said than done, I know, but if you can’t kick them, you might as well laugh about it. It’ll make you live longer. Reduces the grey hairs too.

  11. hahaha!! I’m in M-Pesa so when you said a manager was rude to you, I just look at all of them and smile……not because I enjoyed it, but its because you put a guy in the spotlight….and it pinches coz believe it or not, the ‘Sonkos’ must’ve had him for dinner…

    I love my job. I dont imagine myself elsewhere(ok thats extreme)…..when you call me and I’m able to sort you out, I hold on to that nice feeling I get when you’re sorted…..

    I have to go back to work…..see y’all later….

  12. someone by the name Emmanuel Tum sends me an SMS that he had sent some money through my number by mistake and gives me a wrong figure as I learn later.He then asks me about my last balance on my MPESA account which I decline to give. The problem arises when I receive a an SMS from safaricom MPESA showing that I confirm that I had received Ksh.2520.00 from the number. When as a good Samaritan I tried to send the Money, Mpesa replies by saying that there weren’t enough funds. How is this? The sender of the Money Emmanuel Tum Tel. No. 07213633291 and the agent he used No.Z39ML593 Tel. No. Fake of 9 digits 071345611 are all Doubtful if they are not from a cartel.Please investigate and let me know by e-mail. I can avail any other information if require as it in my phone intact.

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