Phone scam: 400,000 baht stolen using face recognition and hacking, former Bangkok MP aids victim

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Former Bangkok MP Patcharin Sumsiripong accompanied a woman who was tricked by fraudsters claiming to be land officials raiding her phone. They managed to take her money by gaining her trust using accurate data before she realised that her money had been transferred to another account. This phone scam took place yesterday, when Patcharin escorted the swindled woman, Yaowalak, to lodge a complaint with Police Colonel Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, the deputy of the Royal Thai Police. Yaowalak stated that she was deceived by a phone-hacking gang who swindled her money.

Yaowalak revealed that a person called her claiming to be a representative from the land department. The caller gave accurate details about her land transfers, including the quantity of her land, transfer dates, address, full name, and ID number, which led her to believe they were legitimate. She was then encouraged to install an application to validate her identity that would facilitate her as a customer of theirs.

She then went on to explain that subsequently, the criminals switched to having a video call on Line app with her, where she was told to download the “Smartlands” application. After doing that, she was tricked into scanning her face to confirm her identity. Following this, she received a message from Krung Thai Bank alerting her that money was drawn from her credit card, amounting to 50,000 baht in three instances. Disturbed by this, she quickly called the bank to affirm that she had not taken out any money. Nonetheless, the bank informed her that all the money had already been withdrawn.

She hurriedly checked her other bank accounts only to find out that the culprits had also extracted money from her Government Savings Bank account. The overall amount swindled was nearly 400,000 baht, reported KhaoSod.

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Yaowalak disclosed that initially, she was uncertain about whether the caller was indeed a representative from the Land Department. But when he provided accurate personal information about her, she was convinced he was genuine. She advised others that if anyone with such claims calls them, even if they give accurate information, not to complete transactions online but in government offices.

In addition, if fraudsters suggest downloading any applications to verify one’s identity, one should meticulously check those applications. She learned that user reviews could reveal whether the app was misused by criminals.

Big Joke highlighted that these phone scam schemes are based outside Thailand, working through VOIP phone systems. He urged the public to refuse to engage in any financial operations like money transfers or withdrawals directed through telephone calls, as banks nationwide do not order transactions via phone calls.

He substantially stressed not to submit any personal biometric information, such as scanning one’s face, as this is strictly prohibited.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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