How parents, teachers are swindled by criminals using visitors books
Police have established that criminals are now using visitor’s books at educational institutions to defraud parents and teachers. Several secondary schools in Nyeri have lost their registers.
Security officers are on the trail of the con men, who use information recorded in the books to track down their victims.
The information allows the visitor to be identified by name, national ID number, phone contacts, child’s class, and vehicle registration number.
In February, a couple drove to the Karatina Girls’ High School on the Nyeri-Nanyuki Highway and allegedly stopped outside the gate to seek assistance.
The woman asked the guard for assistance in cooling down the car engine, which he provided. The watchman only noticed the missing book after they had driven away.
When the only guard left his post to get some water, the suspects stole the register. The guard had not bothered to check the car’s license plates because the incident appeared to be routine.
The incident was reported to the police station in Karatina and after a few weeks, some parents and residents from the surrounding area who had visited the school, as well as staff, began receiving strange phone calls.
Some of the callers claimed to have obtained tenders at the school and were willing to split the offer if money was sent to a specific number.
And some parents believed the lie. A few days later, a parent arrived at the school with a lorryload of cereal, only to discover he had been duped.
The thugs also used one of the staff members’ contact information to solicit funds under the pretext that she was ill.
“Details in such records are used to lie to parents that their children are sick and should send money to particular numbers for them to be taken to hospital,” said Mary Matheri, a parent.
The gangs were at work last week, while schools across the country were on a one-week break. According to reports, more than five schools in Nyeri have had their visitor’s registers stolen.
At one school, surveillance footage captured a couple approaching the gate and requesting assistance from the guard, claiming their car was having engine trouble.
The book was stolen while the woman was being escorted into the school compound. It is unclear how many schools have been victimized, but Nyeri County Director of Education Sabina Aroni acknowledged the situation was serious.
Nyeri County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara, who chairs the security committee, stated that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is already working on bringing the criminals to justice.
Standad reports that the DCI office in Nyeri declined to comment, and according to some of the affected school principals, the detectives had asked them not to speak to the media in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigations.
Four women posing as parents were apprehended in Baringo County while trying to steal the book from a school in Mogotio.
Officers discovered the women with seven other visitors’ books from various institutions.
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