Police urge Thailand’s singletons to be wary of online dating perils

Police are urging Thailand’s single women to be aware of the perils of online dating.

Commander of Cyber Crime Investigation Division 4, Pol Maj Gen Thitawat Suriyachai, warned Thai singletons at a seminar yesterday to be careful when swiping right on a potential dating partner. He added a number of these online dating profiles are fake and linked to call centre scams and fraud.

The seminar was hosted by the Friends of Women Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up to identify victims of fraud and other types of crime in deprived communities and provide training in business skills to help them find avenues to economic empowerment.

Pol Maj Gen Thitawat revealed that many of these profiles appear to be too good to be true, and they are. They reveal traditionally handsome, educated, and successful men in well-paid jobs from privileged backgrounds.

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Women are then duped into investing in Ponzi schemes and the men then disappear once they have the cash.

Bangkok Post reported that the number of online fraudulent cases between March and September was nearly 900, with women being conned out of an estimated to be 200-300 million baht. Obviously, there are many more unreported cases.

Pol Maj Gen Thitawat said…

“When meeting people from online dating apps, do not reveal your personal information and do not transfer your money to anyone you don’t know or whose information you cannot verify.

“Scammers will approach victims via social media such as Facebook or Line applications and share fictitious stories.

“Once the scammers acquire victims’ personal information such as age and occupation, they will find weak spots and exploit the relationship they have developed for financial gain.

”Most of the victims are single, divorced or widowed people looking for companionship.

“Some are particularly vulnerable as they post much of their personal life on social media or dating apps.”

Pol Maj Gen Thitawat advised anyone feeling compromised or worse, handed over some money, to keep their chat history and proof of transactions to use as evidence if they need to file a report to the police.

The seminar was being held on the back of a man being arrested for sexually harassing a woman he met on a dating app and then murdering her.

The murderer fled to Phatthalung before the Crime Suppression Division managed to apprehend him while he was with another woman he had also assaulted.

The woman, Noei, told officers that they had been chatting for a month on a dating app before she went to meet him. She revealed that she was being held against her will and beaten by the man who also took drugs.

Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, psychiatrist and former director-general of the Department of Health, said many women are uncomfortable rejecting men and many men know this and prey on their victims for personal gain.

”Many victims are soon suspicious and sense danger. However, they cannot leave the relationships and end up being abused.”

Dr Panpimol added that cyber safety should be taught to people of all ages so they can be aware of the signs.

Vice president of the Thai Women’s Network in Europe, Chongcharoen Sornkaew, said a number of Thai women try to form a match with foreign men online to improve their quality of life. However, many experience difficulties maintaining relationships with foreign partners and some fail to adapt to new, unfamiliar environments.

“Many Thai women parade their marriages with foreign men on social media, claiming they can support their parents and subsidise their children’s education. However, the stories shared in social media are not always real and can make those women who believe them more vulnerable.”

Chongcharoen added that online help should be swift and there is a need for physical shelters for them to seek refuge from violent men.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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