A 47-year-old woman in Thimphu lost Nu 80,000 in a WhatsApp scam last week.

She filed a complaint to police on June 14. According to her statement to police, she frequently received calls on WhatsApp from an international number. Despite rejecting the calls, she continued to receive the calls from international numbers.

She stated that she received a call where she was told that she had won a lottery of USD 1 million. To get the money, she had to pay Nu 10,000 voucher fee for the app and Nu 45,000 as Prime minister’s signatory fee.

On June 6, she deposited the amount into a Bank of Bhutan (BoB) account in the name of Jigme Tshering that the scammer has provided her.

The next day, she again deposited Nu 25,000 into another BoB account, which is in the name of a non-Bhutanese, after the scammer again asked her to deposit the amount.

A police official said the woman was convinced that something is not right after she did not receive anything.

On investigation, police found that Samdrupjongkhar police had detained Jigme Tshering for a similar case.

“We are verifying the other account,” police said. Police in Paro and Samdrupjongkhar are also investigating WhatsApp scam cases.

“Despite such cases often being reported to police and the awareness created, people are still being ignorant and falling victims to such scams,” the police official said. “Everyone is vulnerable to a scam so it’s important to be alert and protect yourself.”

Knowing who you are dealing with by verifying the details of someone you have met online and the legitimacy of a business, keeping your personal details secure, being careful of any requests for your details or money are some of the precautions from being scammed.

Dechen Tshomo