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Police in Thailand Issue Nationwide Warning Over Call Centre Scams

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Police in Thailand Issue Warning Over Call Centre Scams

Authorities in Thailand alerting people about a growing number of call centre scams with gangs posing as government official or the Royal Thai Police. According to Traisuree Taisaranakul, a deputy government spokeswoman, governmental agencies do not have a policy for directly contacting members of the public in any case.

The warning came after Thailand was revealed that TV news anchor Paweenamai Baikhloi had lost over a million baht to scammers posing as Department of Land officials.

According to Ms. Traisuree, most call scammers use the names of government departments that interact with people, such as the Department of Land, Customs, or Business Development. A call scammer purporting to be from one of these government agencies may notify victims that they need to update their personal information or have their information verified with a facial scan.

Scammers have also been known to mimic officers from the police, water and power agencies, the post office, logistics businesses, and banking organisations, according to her.

Police in Thailand Issue Warning Over Call Centre Scams

This week, authorities issued a warning about a new scam targeting university students that involves callers claiming to be from the Anti-Money Laundering Office. They eventually trick young people into believing they have been kidnapped in order to extort money from their parents.

According to Ms. Traisuree, public organisations have been advised not to call clients or send brief messages with links to people’s cell phones.

She also advised individuals to double-check any information they get over the phone. They can contact the agencies directly, according to Ms Traisuree.

In the instance of the news anchor, the Department of Land issued a warning statement about the scam on Friday, in which a victim was instructed to click on a link received through SMS and install a bogus programme, from which the scammers acquired remote access to their mobile phone.

According to Ms Traisuree, the DoL has no power over land tax collection because that is the responsibility of local governments.

She also advised consumers to download the agencies’ apps from legitimate app stores or contact them through verified Line accounts before engaging in any transaction.

The Thailand Bankers’ Association (TBA) stated it quickly suspended the victim’s three bank accounts after learning about the fraudulent TV news anchor. It will also look into the situation.

Anyone else who has fallen victim to the fraud can register a complaint with police, who will suspend their financial transactions during the inquiry, according to the TBA. The TBA and the Thailand Banking Sector Computer Emergency Response Team (TB-CERT) have also provided guidelines on how to prevent becoming a victim of a scam (see graphic below).

Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, the caretaker minister of Digital Economy and Society, has vowed that his ministry will build a method to assist persons who have been victims of scams.

Police in Thailand Issue Warning Over Call Centre Scams

Police Rescue Student Targeted By Call Center Scammers

Meanwhile, a university student in Bangkok’s Lat Krabang area was nearly duped into transferring 3 million baht from her mother to a bogus call centre, becoming the latest victim of a new scam in which con artists convince young adults that they had been kidnapped.

The student, who went by the alias Ae, was rescued by police after she was led to believe she was wanted by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) for alleged involvement in the narcotics trade.

According to the victim, she received a phone call on Friday from someone purporting to be from the office, accusing her of receiving contraband through the mail. The student was instructed to work with a local police officer to prove her innocence after the caller advised her to submit a complaint to dispute the accusation.

When Ae contacted the accused officer, she was informed that she was tied to drug-related money-laundering operations and was advised to check into a hotel near her institution.

Once in the hotel room, Ae gave the fake call centre her family information. She was then instructed to contact her mother and falsely say that she had been kidnapped and that her kidnappers demanded a 3 million baht ransom.

Posing as kidnappers, the fraudsters also asked access to her social media accounts in order to maintain correspondence with her mother.

Fortunately, the victim’s father sought assistance from authorities, who were able to track Ae down to the hotel room.

The initial research led to the identification of the callers in Cambodia.

This week, police issued a warning about this type of fraud, in which criminals trick students into sending phoney abduction video tapes of themselves. They then use the videos to extort money from their parents. According to police, the biggest targets are university students who live alone in apartments.

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