Dechen Dolkar  

Facebook users are conned by scammers pretending to be their friends and asking for money.  

A 38-year-old woman lodged a complaint to the Thimphu police division alleging that a scammer created a mirror account of her Facebook account and asked for money from her friends.

Thimphu police registered it as a case of larceny by deceptive practice on July 9.  

According to the woman, the scammer has sent messages to her friends asking for money for an emergency.  

Three of her friends have transferred a total of Nu 40,000 to the scammer. The scammer has asked for Nu 10,000, Nu 15,000 and Nu 15,000 from the three of them.  

The scammer gave them a third-party account number saying that her mBoB was not working. The scammer said that it was an account number of a shopkeeper or a friend. 

“My friends have deposited the money thinking that it was me without validating,” the complainant said. 

The woman said that the scammer has also asked for money from her cousins. However, they tried to validate through a video call and the scammer didn’t receive the call. “They suspected that it was a scam and didn’t deposit the money,” she said.

The woman said that it came to her notice when one of her friends called her and informed her that the money was being deposited in her account.  

By the time the scammer has sent messages to many of her friends on Facebook.

The woman immediately lodged a complaint to the police and called the bank. 

The woman said that they have requested the bank to freeze the account until the investigation was over but the bank said they cannot freeze the account until they receive a court order.

She said that the scammer has been taking advantage since there was a technical glitch with the banking application recently. 

She said that the third-party account holder might be innocent and they have requested the bank to share the contact details of the third party to inform them that the money has been deposited.  “The bank refused to share the details.”  

The victims shared that if the banks and police could immediately facilitate prompt service, they could get their refunds. 

Victims said that they complained to the police on Saturday and the police have not sent documents to the court on Monday also. “By now, the money must have been withdrawn and used.”

The bank official said that they have received around four to five complaints and without the court order they cannot share the details or freeze the account.

However, the bank official said that since they got the information, the account number and money transferred will be monitored.

The police cautioned people not to be careless and that they should validate their friends by calling them to confirm in case of anyone asking for money. 

The police said that the case is under investigation.