Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) has been receiving many cases on deceptive practice through online advertisement where the suspects post various items for sale online through social media platforms, like WeChat and Facebook.
Thimphu police received six cases in connection to online deceptive practices in 2019. There was involvement of six suspects who deceived six victims of a total amount of Nu 3.515 mn.
All the six victims deposited the amount as an advance payment, as per the demand by the suspects. The suspects posted vehicles and flat for sale with which the victims contacted the suspects online.
However, all the six cases are under investigation. Police said that it is challenging to solve such online deception cases as the complainants do not even have proper identities and addresses of the suspects, adding that all the Facebook accounts of the suspects were fake.
Moreover, police said that the suspects have played safe because the transaction of the amount is done through someone else account and not through their own account, for which it is difficult to get to the main culprit.
Police said, “When we interrogated those people through whose account the money were transferred, they deny knowing those suspects. They claimed that the suspects came to them saying they do not have a bank account and requested them to for a single transaction. Therefore, their account numbers were provided for a single transaction.”
The victims deposited the amount without even knowing the identity of the person they were dealing with. Police also said that they were not able to solve the cases as they present associated challenges, but RBP is using different means to get to the suspects.
On 12 October 2019, a 30-year-old business woman reported to Thimphu police stating that on 27 September 2019 she came to an agreement with one man (suspect) in buying two flats in Changzamtog for which the price was fixed at Nu 7.2 mn.
She claimed that she paid Nu 3.2 mn as an advance payment to the suspect. However, on 4 October 2019 she came to know that the said two flats did not belong to the suspect, and moreover, the flats were already occupied.
The victim managed to get to the suspect and ask for a refund. The suspect issued her with a bank cheque, however, the cheque bounced due to insufficient balance. Since then, the suspect has been absconding from her and is still at large.
Similarly, another suspect used a Bolero truck sale advertisement online to hook a potential buyer. The suspect absconded after taking the advance payment money.
“They add on Facebook and make a deal online, and without even knowing a person, they trust them with money,” RBP said. Therefore, RBP urges the public to not to fall for such scams and to meet the dealers in-person if dealing for a business transaction that are posted online.