KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 13
News of a layman becoming a victim of fraud through social media is not uncommon in Nepal, but sometimes even an educated person from a well-todo family becomes a victim.
A Nepali woman, 32, working in a reputed INGO, has fallen victim to a fake Facebook friend, who was able to dupe her of a huge amount.
About a year ago, the woman received a friend request from a man named Dr Benjamin Franklin, who introduced himself as a plastic surgeon from Germany.
The man had uploaded multiple pictures in the guise of a plastic surgeon. After chatting and conducting voice calls for several months, the lady started trusting the man and developed good friendship with him. However, she didn't know that the so-called German national was a thug operating a fake account from a neighbouring country.
Police suspect the man named Benjamin could be a person operating a fake account from Jharkhand state of India, where such crimes are common.
One day, Benjamin called the lady from Malaysia and informed her that he was there to take part in an international plastic surgery conference.
During the chat, the fraudster asked for some money from the lady citing that he was looted during his stay there and he would return twice the borrowed amount once he reached his home country. Out of courtesy, the girl collected money from her friends and transferred Rs 7.8 million to a Nepali bank account as per his direction.
After a few days, Benjamin called her again and said he was in New Delhi of India and faced similar problems and thus was in dire need of money.
The naïve woman again sent Rs 950,000 to a Nepali bank account as asked by the thug.
Only after borrowing the amount twice, did she share with her friends that she had sent money in such a reckless way.
Her friends reminded her of possible swindling.
Eventually, she realised that the man in the guise of a plastic surgeon was a fraud.
Upon filing a complaint, police were able to arrest two Nepali persons whose bank accounts were used for bank transaction. The account holders Rajendra Bhandari, 44, of Kaski district and Rojan Bhujel, 28, of Kathmandu were partners in crime. Both accomplices had already sent the money to Benjamin through various processes after the money was transferred to their account. Police also arrested two more people whose bank accounts were used to collect money from the Nepali victims.
Two persons whose bank accounts were used were arrested.
A version of this article appears in the print on December 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.