Kenya: How Criminals Are Conning Gullible Gamblers Online

Finally, I won! All my nine years of online gambling and betting had finally paid off. All my losses were now insignificant compared to what I had won. I couldn’t wait to show off to my brother, mock my sister, and, finally, look my father in the eye and yell: “Who’s the failure now?”

I stared at my small, old phone in disbelief. I was woken from my daze by the operator’s voice.

“Sir! Mr Ng’ombe! Sir! Are you still there?” He had just revealed to me that I, Mr Julius Msafi Ngombe, had won the jackpot. A whopping Sh45 million. I was rich!

I quickly ended the call and sent the Sh30,000 I was required to send without any question. I mean, what is Sh30,000 to a millionaire like myself? I called everyone I knew and told them the wondrous news.

I took a shower, called all of my friends and colleagues, and invited them for drinks. We partied all night. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to associate with me.

Then came the time for me to go and claim my prize. When I got to the agreed-upon venue, I was met with a sharp sewerage stench. The informal settlement made me sick to my stomach.

I asked around for the betting company office and no one seemed to know where it was. No one had ever heard of it.

This sent a sick feeling to my gut, but I brushed it off. I mean, I was rich.

It was not until I met four other young men who had received the same call that reality dawned on me: I had been scammed. I had been conned. Those criminals!

I took my wounded pride and my broken heart to the police station. I explained my predicament in full detail amid tears. You know what? They laughed. They laughed at my despair. Any little confidence I had vanished.

I walked out of the station feeling like the clown I really was. I had nowhere to go. I ended up crawling back to my parents like the proverbial dog with its tail between its legs.

I did not speak to anyone. I threw away my phone. That was all I needed to get rid of my gambling addiction.

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