The Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau has alerted women about a fake online matchmaker that promises to locate them attractive foreign lovers but actually takes their money.
According to CCIB spokesman Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen, many women filed complaints about being duped by “Mae Sue Online” (online matchmaker), which had over 150,000 Facebook followers.
The Facebook page offered to find them potential foreign lovers for a charge.
“The charges included 20,000 baht for a foreigner who is a civil servant or engineer, 30,000 baht for a property developer, 50,000 baht for a doctor or chemist and 100,000 baht for a vineyard owner,” said Pol Col Kissana.
The page administrator also offered to create profiles for clients for 7,000 baht per hour, as well as to train them in finding a foreign lover for 5,000 baht.
Clients received photos of attractive potential mates, which turned out to be shots of a famous actor, athlete, or businessman. That’s when the complainants understood they’d been duped, according to Pol Col Kissana.
From March 1 to September 17, approximately 2,600 people were victims of the fraud, accounting for 0.80% of all scam victims who submitted complaints online and claimed to have lost a total of 881 million baht, according to the spokesman.
According to him, public fraud entails a maximum prison term of five years and/or a fine of 100,000 baht.
Online Fraud in Thailand
Online fraud, like in many other countries, is a concern in Thailand. Common types of online fraud in Thailand include:
- Phishing: Phishing scams involve sending deceptive emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or government agency. These messages often request personal information or login credentials. Unsuspecting individuals may click on malicious links and provide sensitive information, which can then be used for fraudulent purposes.
- Online Shopping Scams: Some fraudsters create fake online stores or listings on popular e-commerce platforms to sell non-existent products or counterfeit goods. Victims make payments for these products but never receive them.
- Investment Scams: Scammers may promote fraudulent investment opportunities, promising high returns with little risk. These schemes often target inexperienced investors who end up losing their money.
- Social Media Matchmaker Scams: Fraudsters may create fake social media profiles to impersonate someone the victim knows and trust. They use these fake profiles to ask for money or personal information, claiming to be in an emergency situation.
- Online Dating Scams: Individuals looking for love online can become victims of romance scams. Scammers create fake profiles on dating websites and establish emotional connections with their targets before requesting money for various reasons.
- Job and Employment Scams: Fake job offers and work-from-home opportunities that require an upfront payment for materials or training can be a common form of online fraud in Thailand.
- Lottery and Prize Scams: Victims receive notifications that they’ve won a lottery or prize and are asked to pay fees or taxes to claim their winnings. These winnings don’t exist, and the scammers pocket the money.
- Tech Support Scams: Scammers may impersonate tech support agents and claim that the victim’s computer is infected with a virus or has a problem. They offer to fix the issue for a fee, which can lead to financial losses and compromised personal information.
To protect yourself from online fraud in Thailand or anywhere else, consider these precautions:
- Be Skeptical: Be cautious about unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls asking for personal or financial information.
- Verify Sources: Double-check the legitimacy of websites and businesses before making online purchases or investments.
- Use Strong Passwords: Use complex and unique passwords for online accounts, and consider using a password manager to help you keep track of them.
- Install Security Software: Keep your devices protected with up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software.
- Educate Yourself: Stay informed about common online scams and fraud tactics, and teach your family and friends about them too.
- Report Suspected Fraud: If you encounter a potential scam, report it to the local authorities and relevant agencies.
Remember that online fraud can happen anywhere, and it’s important to remain vigilant and take precautions to protect your personal and financial information.