Growth in online services and internet use has resulted to criminals to committing online scam and fraud. These dishonest schemes take advantage of unsuspecting people. These criminals hence gain a benefit (such as money, or access to personal details).Online scammers collect your personal information to use for identity theft, get you to cash fraudulent checks or to wire or send money, and/or trick you into paying for services or supplies you don’t need or want.
Some Major Instances
Kenya has witnessed a rising a rise in cybercrime cases in the recent past. These cases have affected both the public and private sector leading to massive losses on both fronts. Majority of Kenyans are certainly now familiar with names such as Public Likes and Bullish Trade. These are the most recent pyramid schemes that wreaked havoc across the nation. Consequently, a substantial amount of money was lost. Its also estimated that Kshs.2 trillion was defrauded unsuspecting Kenyans via Public likes alone.
Reports from the National Cyber Security Study show that in 2015, Kshs.15 billion was lost to online fraudsters. The amount rose to Kshs.17.5 billion in the subsequent year. In 2018, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in collaboration with Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) reported that Kshs.21.2 billion had been lost to online fraudsters in 2017.
These reports show the financial damages caused by online scammers to unsuspecting people. As a result, this called for a response by the government to protect its citizens.
What The Law Says
There has been a rise in such cases. This can be attributed to the lack of proper legislation to guide both the law enforcement authorities and the judicial system on how to deal with them. This is set to change with the passing of The Computer and Cybercrime Bill, 2016. The bill provides for offenses relating to computer systems. It offers guidance on the collection of forensic material for use as evidence. It also outlines how Kenya will cooperate in matters cybercrime with other nations.
The legislation proposes tough and strict penalties for those who commit offenses under the law. For instance, infiltrating security measure and gaining access to a computer system, with full knowledge that such actions are unauthorized attracts a fine of 5 million shillings or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 years or both. Likewise, if this offender accesses this computer system with the intent of facilitating another crime under the law such an individual will face a fine of 10 Kenyan million shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.
Interference with computer systems which then threatens national security; causes injury or death; threatens public health and safety or leads to a financial loss to any person will attract a fine of 20 Kenyan million shillings or an imprisonment term of 10 years. An interesting provision in the bill is one that states that a person who without authorization does any act which intercepts the transmission of data over a telecommunication system commits an offense and is liable to a fine not exceeding 10 Kenyan million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
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