Online impostors scam public with high-profile personas as digital deception thrives


Members of the public are being targeted by fraudsters posing as high-profile business figures as online scams continue to run rife. Authorities warned potential investors to exercise caution and authenticate any investment links or messages they receive, following a spike in scam cases.

The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry identified common traits among scammers, most notably the promise of exceptionally high returns on investment within a short timeframe. Often, the scammers would use photographs of well-known celebrities or business figures on their platforms to lend credibility to their schemes. In addition, they may use the names of listed companies and symbols of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Stock Exchange of Thailand to deceive those eager to invest in gold.

To counteract the online scams issue, the SEC has called upon business operators and stakeholders in the capital and digital asset markets to collaborate in notifying companies of any fraudulent use of their names. Furthermore, the DES Ministry has announced its intention to seek a court order to shut down Facebook services in Thailand due to allegations of the platform’s failure to block fraudulent ads.

In response to the rising number of online scams, Meta’s country director for Thailand, Prae Dumrongmongcolgul, has acknowledged the issue. They stated that the company is utilising artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and immediately remove scams when they are found.

In a recent warning, the Royal Thai Police highlighted that online scammers were distributing false advertisements for the 10,000 baht digital wallet scheme, a policy proposed by the Pheu Thai Party. They have created a fraudulent mobile app called Digital Wallet, emulating Pheu Thai’s populist scheme. The app tricks victims into thinking they can receive 10,000 baht in digital money if they install it, exposing their financial information to the scammers.

In terms of cybercrime statistics, the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau reported 296,243 cases from March last year to May 31 this year, averaging 525 cases per day. The damage amounted to 40 billion baht or 74 million baht per day reported Bangkok Post.

Scammers utilise various methods to distribute fraudulent links. This includes sending fake SMS messages, creating fake Line accounts and emails, and setting up bogus websites. They also post misleading links under comments or virus hoaxes, use deceptive ads on social media and websites, and provide download links for apps of unknown origin.

According to the Online Fraud and Complaint Centre run by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), between January last year and April this year, the most common complaint was online trading/shopping fraud, with 49,352 cases reported.

The ETDA has offered advice on how to detect fake apps, a method often used by cybercriminals for data hacking and online financial fraud. They recommend avoiding apps that are not downloaded through the Apple Store or Play Store and refraining from using public WiFi when downloading apps or entering personal information on websites.

Victims of online scams can report to local police stations or Technology Crime Suppression Centers under the Royal Thai Police. However, authorities have warned that scammers may create fake complaint channels and websites to deceive victims. Hence, it is crucial to verify the authenticity of these channels before providing any information.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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