missing child


Fraudsters and conmen

A missing child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Your heart stops and you are ready to do anything to be reunited with your child…anything.It is hard to think that during this heart wrenching period, someone could use your despair to take advantage of you.But, unfortunately, they might. Recently, here at Missing Child Kenya, we have seen cases of conmen and scammers who take advantage of vulnerable families of missing children.

Many times, the culprits behind these types of scams use some type of web crawler, a type of internet bot, to search the internet and alert them to specific keywords or phrases online, like “missing” or “missing child.” This can lead them to social media posts made by family members that contain personal information, such as phone numbers or even email addresses.After they have your contact details, they reach out via social media or use third-party calling or messaging apps to contact your family and scam you.Although each case is different, the scammers often lie to parents, telling family members that they have the missing child.

This is an example of some of the scenarios that have been presented by these conmen in Kenya:

  1. A Police Man ( mostly they pretend to be a senior one like OCS)  calls saying they have your child in a far off place, the child is badly injured  and they need money for an ambulance and evacuation back to you.
  2. They are child traffickers who have your child up for sale and they want to rescue your child from the trafficker because the deal went bad.They therefore want some money from you to help rescue your child from traffickers.
  3. Actual ransom calls saying that they have your child and need a certain amount of money to release your child.

Since 2021, Missing Child Kenya has become aware of these types of scams. However, there may be instances that have not been reported to us.

These are some of the steps we have taken to protect families of missing children:

  1. We stopped publishing phone numbers of families on our alerts. We publish our organizational contacts  namely 0737 966 370, 0711 119 728 and our Toll Free Line 0800 22 33 44.
  2. We stopped publishing the school that the child attends.

This is important vital information that we receive but we keep in file to protect the family from scammers.

Although the idea that someone could attempt and take advantage of this situation is scary, there is one step you can take to try and avoid this type of scam. 

Given the frequency of scams demanding a hoax ransom or payment, Missing Child Kenya encourages families to rely on us to create and distribute posters. If families do choose to create their own posters, Missing Child Kenya cautions parents against including their personal phone number or email address on the poster.

Instead of your own personal information, consider including the phone number for the investigating agency. If you’re working with Missing Child Kenya, you can direct tipsters to our hotline contacts , 0737 966 370, 0711 119 728 and our Toll Free Line 0800 22 33 44.

If your child is missing and something like this does happen to you, immediately report the occurrence to law enforcement, and if you’re working with Missing Child Kenya, let your case officer know. 

It’s important to keep all documentation of the emails, text messages and logs of communication so that law enforcement can review it. Try to keep track of as much information as possible so the appropriate agencies can help you review and determine if the occurrence is actually a scam. 

And, as always, Missing Child Kenya  is here to help.  We are a FREE community service. We do not ask for money from families of missing children.  #MISSINGCHILDKE

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