Government Issues Alert on Fraudsters Impersonating Public Agencies
Phone Scams on the Rise
The government has issued a cautionary notice regarding the surge in call center scam groups who falsely claim to represent state agencies. Deputy government spokesperson, Traisuree Taisaranakul, clarified that public agencies have no policy in place to contact the public directly.
This alert follows a recent incident where TV news anchor Paweenamai Baikhloi lost over one million baht to scammers pretending to be from the Department of Land (DoL).
Tactics Employed by Scammers
Traisuree indicated that these fraudsters usually target agencies that work closely with the public, such as the DoL, Customs Department, or the Department of Business Development. The impersonators might request victims to update their personal information or conduct a face scan for verification purposes.
She added that scammers have also been known to pose as officers from the police, water and electricity authorities, post office, logistics companies, and financial institutions.
It’s crucial to note that public agencies have been instructed not to contact clients by phone or send messages containing links to mobile phones.
New Scam Affecting University Students
Police have issued a warning regarding a new scam that preys on university students. The fraudsters, claiming to be from the Anti Money Laundering Office, coerce young adults into believing they have been kidnapped to extort money from their parents.
How to Verify Information and Protect Yourself
Traisuree advised people to double-check information received through phone calls by contacting the agencies directly. She recommended downloading agencies’ applications through official app stores or verifying their Line accounts before proceeding with any transaction.
Banking Measures to Tackle Fraud
In the case of the defrauded news anchor, the Thailand Bankers’ Association (TBA) suspended the victim’s three bank accounts immediately and is actively investigating the matter. Victims of similar scams can file a complaint with the police, who can freeze financial transactions during the investigation, said the TBA.
Both the TBA and the Thailand Banking Sector Computer Emergency Response Team (TB-CERT) have issued guidelines on avoiding phone scams.
Government Support for Victims
Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, the caretaker minister of Digital Economy and Society, has pledged that his ministry will develop a mechanism to assist those who have fallen victim to such scams.
Phone scams are increasingly targeting unsuspecting individuals, with fraudsters posing as representatives from various public agencies. To avoid falling prey to these scams, it is essential to verify the authenticity of information received via phone calls and exercise caution when conducting transactions. The government and the banking sector are actively working to develop solutions and assistance for victims of these scams.