Dechen Dolkar

Thimphu police registered a case where a woman allegedly scammed people online during the lockdown.

Four Thimphu residents have filed complaints against a 26-year-old woman using the Facebook username ‘Tashi N Zangmo’, who claimed she had an apartment for rent during the lockdown and made people deposit security amount from them.

According to the complainants, the woman responded to their inquiry on the Facebook page if there were any available apartment for rent that she had a flat for rent in Changzamtok.

A 25-year-old man said he posted on Facebook if there was a flat for rent in January.

“I immediately received a message from the woman claiming that she has a two-bedroom, hall and kitchen (BHK) for rent at Nu 6,500 per month at Changzamtok,” he said. “She then asked me to deposit one month’s house rent as a security deposit to confirm the booking since there are many tenants looking for flat.”

He claimed the woman said she is at Wangdue for annual ritual. “We had a conversation over the phone and I felt it was genuine and true and deposited Nu 6,500.”

She reportedly said she is in the red zone area in Wangdue and cannot come out.

The victim said that he believed her.

“After the lockdown was lifted, I called her but she gave many reasons and kept postponing. I got a little suspicious and checked her Facebook profile. I saw a common friend and asked the friend. I learnt that she was a scammer,” he said.

The man then messaged her to return the money and even warned her that it will be reported to the police. “She claimed mbob is not working and she is in hospital.”

He complained to the police on February 25.

Similarly, another victim, a 23-year-old woman also posted on a Facebook page looking for a flat for rent for her family as their house owner asked them to vacant the flat in Changedaphu by March 15.

“We could not find a house and since it was lockdown, I posted on Facebook,” the woman said. “I received a message from the woman, claiming she stays in a 2BHK flat in Changzamtok and that she wanted to vacate it.”

According to the victim, she could not go out to check the flat since it was lockdown. “When I asked for her number, she gave the house owner’s number,” she said.

The house owner told the victim he has no issue if the woman wants to vacate it.

“The woman said she is a  patient and she wanted to shift with her parents as she is expecting and asked to deposit Nu 14,000 as security deposit,” the victim said. “Since we are in urgent need of a flat we deposited the security amount on March 1.”

The woman promised she would vacate the apartment by March 10.

The victim said they registered for an electronic pass to shift the house, but the woman kept giving excuses. “She took advantage of the lockdown.”

She said they live on the income their father earns as a taxi driver. “She took our little money.”

Another 25-year-old victim also said she posted on Facebook, looking for a flat for rent for her sister who will be shifting to Thimphu from Phuntsholing on March 8.

The next day she received a message from the same lady claiming that she has a 2BHK flat for rent at Nu 7,000 a month at Changzamtok.

The lady has also sent her video of the house and was asked to deposit Nu 14,000 as a security deposit.

The lady claimed that the building is near Chundu sawmill with a two-storied building.

“I was convinced by her video. I asked her contact number and account number and deposited the security amount,” a 25-year-old victim said.

The woman told her she would vacate the flat by March 25.

“I called her on March 24 if she vacated the house, but there was no response,” the victim said. “On March 25 morning, she dropped a message that she would vacate by April 1 since private vehicles are not allowed to move out of mega zones.”

The victim posted on Facebook about her experience on March 26 and received messages from other victims.

The victims claimed the woman refused to respond to their calls.

Meanwhile, another victim also complained to police that the same woman took a kira and credit from the shop and never returned the money.

Thimphu police said the suspect is at large and that they would charge the case to court once they nab her.