E-Commerce And Social Media: Fraud With No Recourse

E-Commerce And Social Media: Fraud With No Recourse

The COVID 19 pandemic was a boost for e-commerce and social media businesses. Limited movement meant more online orders. In Kenya, e-commerce giant Jumia may potentially make a profit during this period. The problem with e-commerce in Kenya is that while customers sign up and buy a product online, there is no guarantee that they will purchase the product again online. While this pandemic may see online make merchants make a profit, they may go back to short sales as soon as the world opens again. The intersection of E-commerce and Social Media has created a haven for online fraud with few mechanisms for protection or recourse.E-Commerce And Social Media: Fraud With No Recourse

So does this happen?  In this article, I will explain why online shopping on social media in Kenya is a hot mess.


In the last two months, e-commerce had a surge and there has been a demand for gaming consoles, and at some point, it was allegedly reported that there were no PlayStation 4s in Nairobi. While genuine shops continued to inform their customers that they had run out of stock, others quickly set up e-commerce solutions on Instagram. Their con game is elaborate. They advertised that they had an extensive stock of PS4s, and they sold it at a surprisingly low price. Kshs 25,000. (250 USD) Typically it would cost Kshs 40,000 (400 USD).E-Commerce And Social Media: Fraud With No Recourse

A vulnerable customer ends up contacting such a seller, and the con game begins. The customer is informed that the console is available, and they are required to pay the full amount so that the purchase can be completed. The e-commerce model generally requires pre-payment since a purchase culminates in the e-commerce experience. The customer pays and is informed that their package will be delivered to their address.


The customer is then called by a second fraudulent unknown caller who presents themselves as the LMD(Last-Mile Delivery) ‘company agent’. They inform the customer that they are on their way. The customer has not sensed that they have been conned yet, and they proceed to give their address details. The ‘company agent’ is to kind enough to update the customer about their whereabouts. They will send periodic text messages just to keep the customer in high spirits that they will soon be an owner of a brand new Playstation 4. After one hour, the phone stops ringing. The texts disappear. The customer gives it another hour. At the end of the second hour, the customer then realizes that they have been conned most effortlessly and elaborately. They do not seek any recourse because the fraudsters have already blocked them, withdrew the cash sent, and blocked them on all social media. E-Commerce And Social Media: Fraud With No Recourse

As I end, I pose the following questions

  1. Is there a chance that the customer will get their money back?
  2. Are consumers protected from fraudsters when shopping online in Kenya?
  3. Are potential shoppers likely to go online once they read this?
  4. Is e-commerce regulated in Kenya?

Have any thoughts? Let’s discuss them.

E-Commerce And Social Media: Fraud With No Recourse

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