Bhutanese still fall prey to Q-Net and mBoB scammers

A 29-year-old victim of Q-Net scam said that she was convinced that she could make good money online after the soft-spoken Bhutanese scammers sold her the idea earlier this year.

She was in a group of 17 hopeful ‘business owners’, and each one of them invested between Nu 120,000 to Nu 150,000 on the ‘business’.

“We started enquiring about the business and they (scammers) were so convincing that we fell victim to them. They interviewed us twice visually, wherein during the first interview they asked us personal questions, while in the second meeting, they talked about the business. We were told that we were selected for the business, and they asked us to deposit Nu 10,000 each as token money,” she said.

They unsuspecting victims were even told that talks are ongoing with the government to legalize the online business. They were also asked to attend a business training followed by frequent meetings. They were made members after the investment amount was paid to an individual account.

“They kept us fully engaged, however, with an announcement on online business being illegal from the government, we started questioning them and requested for the refund of our money. Since then, we couldn’t get in touch with them,” she said.

They neither got their money back nor the product/commission that was promised. They are still approaching the scammers for their refund. They went to police for an enquiry but they were asked to approach the court.

Meanwhile, the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) has registered 12 cases of deceptive practice as of now, which is related to online-scam throughout the country. Last year, RBP registered just 5 such cases, which shows an increase by 7 cases this year.

Of the 12 reported cases, Thimphu City police station alone have registered 10 cases.

A RBP official said, “It is challenging for the police to investigate such cases, as most of the suspects are anonymous. However, police arrested 3 suspects between 20 and 30 years of age who were being used as a middle-men promising certain commission.”

Thimphu police also apprehended 4 men involved in deceiving shopkeepers by editing the screenshot with the date and amount supposedly paid through their mBoB App.

Police said that one of the men in the group would ask the price rate of certain items in the shop. After which the person would exit the shop with information on the total price amount of the items. This amount will then be edited into the mBoB screenshot. Thereafter, another man from the group will purchase the items and show the transaction amount on the edited mBoB screenshot.

That is how shopkeepers were being deceived and cheated out of a few thousands to over hundred thousand ngultrums. There are many cases are not being reported to the police as the amount is small. 

 “It’s the responsibility of the shopkeepers to properly check and verify the amounts. The moment the amount is transferred, it is a must for them to crosscheck the amount before the customer leaves,” RBP added.

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