Man saved from losing more than Nu 500,000 to phone scam

Despite numerous reminders from the concerned agencies such as the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) and banks, there are still people falling victim to online fraudsters, who hack into their bank accounts and bolt away with their money.

A truck driver in Punakha, Kinley Tenzin, is one of the latest victims to fall into the scammers’ trap.

The scammers talked to him in a variety of ways to get him to believe them and give out important information such as his account and cell phone number.

On April 21 around 10:30 am, Kinley Tenzin received a call from an unknown number on WhatsApp while he was driving. Claiming to be an official working at the BoBL head office in Thimphu, the other person asked if he had an account with the bank.

Then Kinley Tenzin was asked for his account and mobile numbers, which he gave to the caller. After a while, he was given a four-digit OTP number to give as well.

He did so, but when he reached his workplace, money was withdrawn from his account after the caller got his OTP number. He received messages on his phone saying that his account was debited. Five transactions were made and a total of Nu 538,000 was debited.

He panicked and rushed to the BoBL bank in Punakha to enquire about the suspicious transactions and only there learnt that he had been defrauded by an unknown culprit. However, he was lucky to get his money back.

Kinley Tenzin said, “Due to the timely intervention of the branch manager of the bank and Punakha OC, I was able to save my money. They acted immediately and were able to freeze the accounts of the suspicious persons for further transactions. I have learnt a good lesson now and people need to be very careful not to fall for such scams. I was lucky to get my money back, but not everyone will be lucky.”

Although a suspect in the case has already been identified, Punakha police are currently investigating the case. But it has been confirmed that the person who had called Kinley Tenzin is a man from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, numerous notices and advisories have been issued earlier by the RMA and the banks, urging the public to be wary about online scams that trick you into sharing your personal bank information.

Chencho Dema from Punakha