Rampant online sex video call scams

Online scammers are getting bolder and wily as more and more victims are coming forth to report such scams where they have lost huge amount money in just a blink of an eye.

Police find it difficult to investigate the online scam cases, as most of the prime suspects are non-Bhutanese.

The new trend now is deceiving people online in the name of providing online sex video calls.  Deceivers create a fake account in various social media platforms, such as Snapchat and Facebook, to advertise their nude pictures along with a caption on their page and daily story.

A caption of one such advertisement reads, “Sex video call only for Nu 300 for 20 mins. I am not cheating. First money.” That is how they influence the social media users. They ask their clients to pay first before the service. Once the payment is made upfront, the client would then be blocked.

It was learnt that when the client asked for their pictures to authenticate the chat, the deceiver than share pictures of half-naked women, who could possibly be non-Bhutanese. Some of the deceivers are men pretending to be women.

A 29-year-old man who doesn’t want to be named said that he had seen such advertisements several times on Facebook, and at one point of time, he added a girl and they immediately started chatting online.  

He said, “I started chatting with the girl who was completely anonymous to me. After a few conversations, she asked me if I am interested in her. Upon saying yes, she then asked me to deposit Nu 1,000 for 1 hour of video sex service. I asked for the service first, but she denied.”

After her refusal to give the service before the payment, he then deposited her money, and as soon as he did that, he was blocked. He could have reported the incident to the police to save others from such scams, but he was not comfortable with reporting such embarrassing incident in person, he added.

Likewise, a 25-year-old man fell victim to such a scam. He shared that he was added by an anonymous person on Snapchat, wherein the profile picture on the Snapchat was of a female. Thinking that he might know her, he accepted the request and started chatting.

However, he said, “She was unknown to me, and in the process of chatting, she started sending me a half-naked pictures. I replayed the snap and couldn’t believe myself for a while. She again sends me a nude picture but without showing her face.”

Being a man, he said that he got dragged into the conversation. The woman then shared a link with him asking him to deposit the money if he wants to proceed further. He opened the link and he found out that it is an international platform.

He replied to the woman saying he won’t be able to deposit the money, given that it is an international bank, and thereafter, he was blocked by the deceiver.

A 33-year-old man said, “I added the girl after seeing a story on Facebook. I messaged her and got an instant reply. After chatting for a while, she started asking for money, which I decided to deposit. Asked for account number wherein she asked me to transfer the money through MBoB.”

He entered the provided number, and realized that the name under the number was that of a man. He became suspicious and he prolonged the chat. At the end, the person he was chatting with turned out to be a man, he added.

It was learnt that the scammers go to the extent of playing porn videos as background sound to entice the victims. Some people are quick to realize, but most are caught unaware.

The police has not received any complaint pertaining to such a case. However, the police said that it is the sole responsibility of an individual to not get deceived. One should not chat with anonymous people and deposit money without cross checking.

Nevertheless, the police shared that they will investigate if they happen to receive such cases in future. Sources say there was a report of such a case a few years ago, wherein the suspect was a foreigner.

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