Two years after online visa applications were introduced by Kenya, cybercriminals are misleading its prospective visitors by swindling them through spurious websites.
They are using two fake websites and an e-mail account to trick Kenyan visa applicants online. Posing as intermediaries to visa applications, these websites are charging thrice the official rate, which is $50 per person.
Taking cognisance of this, an advisory has been put up by Kenya’s Immigration Department against the two websites. One of them is www.kenya-evisa-online.com and its e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This scam has been noticed by the embassies of the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malaysia, prompting them also to post warnings.
Google has reacted by flagging the webpage at www.kenya-evisa-online.com. The Search engine company was quoted by allafrica.com as saying that since it was reported that the website is a misleading site, it has been blocked. It also added that spurious sites have been developed to trick people into venturing into committing dangerous acts such as revealing users personal information like credit card details, passwords, etc. and installing software. If users enter any information on this web page, their data is likely to be compromised, Google’s Safe Browsing section states.
In early 2017, Njeru Githae, Kenya’s ambassador to the US, warned online visa applicants to be wary of fraudulent websites, which were claiming to issue visas on the behalf of the government.
He said that these spurious websites, which are posing as authentic government platforms, have been swindling e-visa applicants. The way they have been designed makes people mistake them for the official e-visa website of the government of Kenya, he said.
The www.kenyaonlinevisa.com website is being hosted by Amazon Data Services, a subsidiary of the Amazon, the US-based e-commerce company. Though the data firm is based in Dublin, Ireland, the servers of the fake sites have been able to extend their reach to all corners of the world. Another website, www.kenyaonlinevisa.org, is hosted in Spain.
Mr Githae said that their Foreign Affairs Ministry was investigating into these websites and partnering with the American government to arrest all those behind these websites. He added that they were leaving no stone unturned to ensure that innocent people, Americans as well as nationals of other countries, are not deceived by these cybercriminals.
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