If you have received a friend request on Facebook from any unknown person then be aware. These days there is a huge problem of fake Facebook friends scam in Nepal. It is running rampant in social media and a lot of cases are showing up in CIB of Nepal Police. People are getting scammed by criminals on Facebook and other social media. There are many cases of blackmailing and fraudulent promises that have cost people up to Rs 20 lakhs ($20,000) per person. So Nepal Police has asked everyone to be careful on social media and banking apps.
This is a new kind of crime and it is escalating these days. Young girls and married women are the primary targets of these scams. The crimes or scams are done by real people but we are calling them fake friends because the name they put on social media or Facebook is false and in reality, they are enemies. This new type of digital scam is noninvasive, so there is no hacking, keylogging, or other attacks.
Also Read: How to recover hacked Facebook profile
This scam uses people’s hope, misuses feelings, dreams, and people’s greed to get free things. A lot of Nepalese are falling into this trap and losing money. Innocent people are sending money to scammers and losing their hard-earned savings. So read this article carefully to understand this ploy and learn how to be safe.
Fake Facebook Friends Scam Details: Be Aware of Gift Fraud!
What really is happening is very simple, it is simply fraud that is happening using Facebook as a tool. Many Nepali and international organized criminal organizations are making fake Facebook profiles and social media profiles. Then they send friend requests to people. Usually, criminals are making fake profiles of men and send requests to females. In many reported cases, the victims are women and girls from rich and middle-class families.
Innocent and naive people accept requests with open hearts. They think it’s a platform to become friends and build a network. In due process, people start chatting with each other without knowing who they are in real life. Then the scammers slowly build friendships and relationships via chat, call, and even video chat. After creating a false sense of closeness and getting the target’s confidence, they start the game.
The criminals or scammers who have fake Facebook profiles tell victims that they live abroad and have lots of money. They tell girls that they want to send gifts and presents. Even if targets try to decline, criminals insist and tell that they have already sent the gift. They send fake pictures of expensive things and convince the victim. People also become happy and accept the gift reluctantly.
So after the victim accepts or acknowledges the gift, the scammers go off-grid. The criminals say that they have to go somewhere else and they slowly stop the contact. Victims also think that the scammer or new Facebook friend might be busy and has work to do. So they also don’t care about this ploy. A few days later people or victims get a call. The calls are mostly from a Nepali or Indian phone number which is actually an agent of the organization. They say that gift has arrived and a certain amount of money is needed to clear customs for the expensive gift.
People or victims also fall greedy for expensive gifts like jewelry, iPhones, smartphones, and gadgets. So they think and expect that they can get those gifts by paying a small price. As custom clearance is common knowledge while anything comes from abroad, people also think that it may be true. However, people don’t verify or can’t verify if the call is actually from the Department of Customs.
Note: Goswara Hulak or a related office sends an SMS and calls you to the office directly to receive the item and clear customs. Whenever someone sends a parcel or gift, or when you purchase some things from a site like Aliexpress, do expect a call or SMS. You can’t or don’t need to send money to them. Going to the office is mandatory with a government ID too.
After the call from an agent, people send the requested money by depositing the amount in the bank account that is told in the call. Slowly people are requested from thousand to lakhs of rupees to an agent’s account in Nepal. Again another call from a Nepali number comes saying custom clearance is required in Nepal. They are again requested for money and people send money in hope of a valuable gift. However, the gift never comes. Thus after a few days, people realize that they have been fooled and scammed.
Current Scenario of Online Scam in Nepal
In this fake Facebook friends scam, many people have lost a lot of money. A lot of wealth has been siphoned out of Nepal. Therefore the Nepal Police Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) is getting lots of such cases these days. There are many cases that include fraud amounts of mostly amounting up to Rs 3,00,000 and a maximum fraud of up to Rs 20,00,000. These amounts are massive for common Nepalese because it takes a lot to save that much money. Nepal Police CIB said they are working closely with Facebook and Interpol to find the criminals.
This fake promise of gift or gift fraud or customs clearance fraud is just the tip of the iceberg. This fake friend scam escalates when people put trust in people they have met online and never met in life. There are some cases of blackmailing girls and women because of sharing private and explicit videos/photos with criminals. Scammers or criminals try to get close to victims by acting caring. One thing leads to another and sharing of explicit content happens which is stored by scammers to use as blackmail. Then criminals threaten the victims to share those in public unless they pay the ransom.
Actually, most of these crimes are done in foreign countries but their agents can be in any region. Many of the agents are Nepali and many are foreign citizens. So these scams are organized and they are pretty smart. So we must be very careful while living in cyberspace because our personal information and finance live here. As we have our online baking and banking apps on computers, smartphones, and the internet, we should be extra careful.
CBI finds that this kind of problem is taking benefit of Nepali people’s love of abroad and foreign countries. This problem is thriving due to our psychology and mindset. This scam is taking benefit of our innocence and also greed for free stuff. Director of Central Investigation Bureau, DIG Nawa Raj Silwal advises everyone to be very careful on this matter and social media. People are advised to not accept friend requests from unknown persons or without a reference. Be very careful while chatting, talking, and sharing personal, private, and banking information.
Everyone should strictly avoid sharing private explicit photos or videos. It is advisable to not click links or emails sent by unknown people. Please be careful even while opening links even from known friends. There are many victims who are silent because of the embarrassment of being scammed. We urge everyone to report it to the police so others don’t have to suffer like you. Be Careful and be safe.