Parents part with thousands of shillings for healthcare in fraudulent con.
Con artists are masters at manipulating human emotion do their financial gain. They know the right buttons to push to get you to open your purse strings and part with your money. In an article on The Guardian, Maria Konnikova, author of the book, The Confidence Game emphasizes that we are more likely to be conned when we are emotionally vulnerable, therefore making anyone susceptible to falling victim.
In the con game that is doing the latest rounds in the city, parents are being duped into believing that their children are in dire need of medical care and that the ‘good Samaritan’ requires a certain amount of money in order to help the child get medical services.
The exposé by the Daily Nation shows that many parents have fallen victim to the con, with one parent losing Kshs 28,000. Typically, one would receive a phone call alerting them that their child has been involved in a serious accident and that they need to be rushed to the hospital. The con men then take advantage of the parent’s panic and exaggerate the situation to make them believe that the child’s condition is worsening by the minute.
Once the groundwork for the scheme has been laid, they now ask for the parent to send them money for the child to receive medical care. The parents fall into the trap and send the money to the con artists only to discover later that it was all a fraud and their child is safe and sound.
The increase in reported cases of the fraudulent game has caused the Kenyatta National Hospital to sound a warning to parents to be more discerning and avoid acting in that state of panic as the person purporting to be a good Samaritan could be a con. Despite the efforts to put up posters all around the hospital alerting people of the existence of these fraudsters, the cases are still on the rise. The hospital is still getting calls from parents who are fraught with worry about the status of their children who have just been ‘admitted’.
When it comes to our children and loved ones, any negative news regarding their health is bound to cause us distress and it’s during such times of emotional vulnerability that the con artist will strike. When one is desperate, any sort of solution or offer for help will be jumped upon.
In order to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by these fraudsters, it is important to try and stay calm when you get a call that your child is injured. Gather your thoughts in order to take rational steps forward. Call your child’s school as the first thing in order to establish their whereabouts. It is also important to note that public hospitals do not charge for emergency medical services up front. If the con artist tells you that they have admitted your child at a public hospital but require funds for a medical procedure, then hang up.
Also, knowing that anyone can be a victim of a con artist including yourself will keep you keen and on the lookout for these masters of manipulation.
Featured image via Top10wala.in.