Man arrested for WhatsApp call scam

A 47-year-old housewife in Kabesa, Thimphu was informed that she had just won USD 1 million. She had ignored the call which was made on WhatsApp – the free messaging and call mobile application. After frequent calls to get her to respond, she finally relented.

On 14 June, the housewife lodged a complaint with the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) in Thimphu. She said she has been receiving calls from two foreign numbers, both telling her she had won a million dollars of prize money.

She was asked to fulfill certain conditions to collect the prize money. On 6 June, she was asked her to deposit Nu 10,000 as a WhatsApp voucher fee and Nu 45,000 as Prime Minister’s signature fee in a given Bank of Bhutan (BoB) account. She had duly deposited the said amount. Again on 7 June, she was asked to deposit Nu 25,000 in another BoB account number which belonged to a non-national. She did as she was asked.

Meanwhile, after few days, she was informed by the callers that they had some issues and that they will refund back the full amount (Nu 80, 000 in total). However, after getting no further calls or response on the money refund, she decided to alert the police.

Police investigation led to the suspect involved in the WhatsApp scam through messages and calls. He is currently held under detention by the Samdrupjongkhar police. The suspect has also carried out similar scams in the past.

Such cases are becoming common among people through WhatsApp. The police urge the public not to respond or entertain such calls and messages. This is the second such case reported to Thimphu police, and similarly such cases have been reported to Paro police and Samdrupjongkhar police.

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