Online scammers still active in Kathmandu


Despite relentless crackdown on online fraudulent rackets on the part of Nepal Police, scammers continue to swindle unsuspecting users out of millions of rupees.

In the latest instance of such fraud, Metropolitan Police Crime Division yesterday arrested two youths, including a teenage girl, for allegedly cheating people by using various social networking sites.

According to MPCD, Santosh Shrestha, 22, and Asha Shrestha, 19, of Bhume Rural Municipality, Rukum, were taken into custody from their rented room in Kirtipur yesterday after a rigorous technical investigation into several complaints of online fraud.

Senior Superintendent of Police Deepak Thapa, MPCD in-charge, said online scammers created fake accounts with profile pictures of foreign citizens on Facebook and WhatsApp and sent friend requests to various persons. Once social media users accepted the friend request, the scammers would exchange mobile numbers and personal information to bring the unwary users to their fold. The Shrestha duo had posed as Dutch nationals to con unsuspecting persons.

“They took their Facebook and WhatsApp friend into confidence, stating that they would soon visit Nepal, marry Nepalis and send them precious items such as jewellery, iPhone and laptop,” he informed. The duo would also send photos of parcels, jewellery and electronic gadgets to their victims as evidence and made them deposit cash in their bank accounts for ‘airport tax clearance’.

MPCD said the racketeers had swindled more than a dozen persons out of 4.19 million in Kathmandu and other parts of the country. Further investigation into the case is under way. Meanwhile, police have cautioned social media users against the traps set by online scammers. The security agency urged the people not to respond to suspicious messages.

Facebook, WhatsApp and other social networking sites are easy means for fraudsters and scammers to access people’s network. People should not accept friend requests from unknown persons as they could be cheating gullible persons from home and abroad, it warned. “We have also appealed to one and all to notify the nearest police office if they receive any dubious calls and texts luring them with parcels or lottery,” SSP Thapa said.

According to police, the messages sent by scammers to Internet and mobile users often claim that the recipient has won a substantial sum of money in an online lottery scheme, or they are sending them a parcel comprising electronic gadgets and jewellery.