Equity

Say you woke up feeling a bit ill one Monday morning. Instead of calling in sick, you choose to head to work. You’re probably not at 100% because of the anxiety that’s been hanging over you like a dark, stormy cloud. Yes, you also acknowledge that you’ve been a bit uneasy since you received that cash in your account. You’re still not sure about what really happened but you decide to not dwell on it as you have plenty of other things to worry your mind. Besides, worry is a waste of imagination. You get to work, and you notice something unusual. You’ve not had a notification from your phone all morning.

Hmm, that’s odd. I don’t remember switching off my bundles last night. So, you connect to the company wi-fi and… nothing. That’s strange. Your phone is laggy and behaving unpredictably. “Let me not ignore this.” You try out other functions and none are working. You try calling yourself, nothing. It quickly becomes evident to you just how frustrated you are getting, locked out from your phone. There’s no way you can survive the day without your phone. Right about then you remember that times have changed. Immediately you hop onto your laptop and start breathing fire on Safaricom’s Twitter customer care. You want the issue resolved immediately. Luckily, after sustained effort, your Safaricom sim is working again. Good.

However, before you can celebrate, you perform a rain check on yourself. You’ve gotten worse. You cannot even concentrate on simple tasks. “I think I’d better go home.” Sawa. You head to the manager’s office and after a breezy chat, you’re headed home on sick leave. On your way, you realize that your Airtel Money app is misbehaving. Huh? What the devil’s hell is going on today?

You remember that you’ll need to chuck some cash if you’ll be needing to buy medication. You head to the ATM again. You had tried withdrawing some cash earlier this morning but Equity bank kept cancelling the transaction. Of late Equity have really been off their game. You remind yourself of your resolution to open a KCB account soon. Or CBA Loop. Anything but Equity.

Never mind. For now, you’ve got enough fire to go around. You head over to the bank. A few minutes later you’re next-in-line but still can’t decide what approach to use. To be hard up irritated or all diplomatic and PR-ish? No time to think. You’ve already told the customer care attendant what brought you to the bank. She takes your details and queries the system. She looks up at you from behind her monitor quicker than normal. Like as if she is slightly startled to see you. However, she quickly musters a smile and politely asks you to excuse her as she raises the matter to someone who can resolve it.

Okay. She knows better, you tell her. So, you’re seated waiting when you notice a G4S security guard walking straight towards you. Behind him is the Equity customer care employee you just spoke to. They come over and inform you that your issue is quite serious. You’ll need to speak to one of their managers. The way the guard is all in your face is starting to irritate you. You rise up and you walk beside him to speak to this ‘thunder-farting’ manager so that you can get done with these shenanigans and go home. Your anxiety is off the roof though. Like as if something is not right somewhere. Those are too many coincidences for one day.

When you enter that office, you notice two AP soldiers standing straight and alert with those long riffle-type guns they carry. They’re holding them ominously with two arms, fingers caressing triggers. Like as if they’re on ready. Ready to fire at you.

About two hours later, you’re incarcerated in the basement of the Equity Bank Headquarters along Upperhill. You’ve been giving dozens of explanations that make perfect sense until you notice you’re simply preaching to the choir. None of that polite, holier-than-thou, innocent talk registers with any of these people. They don’t care. You’re wasting your breath.

A few words exchanged here and there and next, the CID has picked you up. After they book you in, you’re immediately picked up by the BFIU; the CID task force specifically charged with investing crimes as heinous as the one you’ve just committed.

By now you have figured out your crime and you’re not even scared or anxious or confused anymore. Instead, you’re angry. You’re so angry you want to smash your thick skull on the wall repeatedly till it cracks. Maybe that way, you can stuff some much-craved common sense in there.

Just how stupid can one man be?

Charity

She’s a breeze in the desert. You met her recently but every day, you’re starting to think that maybe there’s more to her that you would like to discover and keep to yourself. She’s good company and can maintain interesting conversations. She’s also easy on the eye.

Naturally, things progress faster than you anticipated because conversations are more meaningful and engaging. She has this uncanny ability of always seeing the big picture. She also talks a big game. Big money and smart people forging the world out there. Being in tune with the art of the hustle. The street-smart hustler type of hustle. The clever money.

Then, there’s this evening that she comes home all excited about a venture she has in mind that could make you a few, very many coins.

Easy. Sure, why not.

She has a rich uncle who needs to send her some cash. He’s usually a slippery guy but this time she’s got him. All she needs is an Equity account for him to wire the money as soon as possible. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have one. She’s more of a KCB person. But she manages to convince you to let her use your account to handle this transaction.

Sawa. You agree. She promises to hand you your cut once the transaction is finalized. Not soon after, there’s some serious cash floating in your account. More than you’ve ever had in there since you opened your account back when you were applying for your HELB loan.

You both settle on a day that she and the uncle will accompany you to the bank to withdraw the dough. Ans when you finally meet the uncle, he turns out to be a rather decent, younger-than-you-expected guy. Reserved, chilled out, but warm and helpful. He seems very aware and as sharp as a tack. It doesn’t take long before you start to trust him as well.

As the three of you leave the bank all smiles and breezy, mission complete, you’re feeling quite amused with yourself. That’s some serious cash that just passed through your account. And also it is probably the easiest money you ever made. #WorkSmartNotHarder. That’s the maxim you’ll subscribe to going forward.

Clarity

You’ve been hacked.

No, not your account. You the person. You’ve been compromised. You’ve been conned. Duped by Charity.

You remember her uncle? He’s not really her uncle. They’re probably not even related. As far as you know, they’re partners in crime.

Remember the money that was being wired to your account? Of course. It was big-boy money, how could you forget? Well, it turns out, Charity might have lied. Her “uncle” was apparently part of a hacking ring within Equity bank itself. The perpetrators somehow managed to create a way to syphon money out of the system. However, they’d been having one problem. They had no way to withdraw the stolen money without leading the trail back to themselves. If they dared to use their own accounts to do that, the blue boys would pounce on them even before they left the banking hall.

You see, stolen money leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that eventually stop at the doorstep of the account holder that is brave enough to withdraw the stolen cash. All the bank and the CID would then have to do to get back their money, would be to knock on that door. Don’t forget that your bank account is tied to your personal details. You’d literally be walking with a target sign on your forehead screaming “I did it! Come find me.”

The hackers knew this. If they were smart enough to hack a bank, they had probably been thinking about how to tackle this hurdle. They knew that the only person brave enough to withdraw the cash needed to be just as daft. In short, they needed an impressionable fool with an account to spare.

You were perfect.

And now you’re neck-deep in trouble and haven’t found your footing yet. You could just as easily sink and drown. You’re being dragged through a thoroughly depressing legal process. In and out of court so much that the clerks will crack jokes with you about how to survive in jail. One has even offered to visit you. You’ve had enough time to study the copper, Made-in-China handcuffs you’ve been wearing on the regular. Made by Vital something, something company.

Meanwhile, Charity and her uncle are still at large and until the police can find them, consider yourself a guest of the state. You are a thief and the legal system has a number of ideas of what to do with you if they can’t make you pay the entire sum that was stolen through your account. Get comfortable. This could take much longer than you thought.

Credits: #KibandaSelfie

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