Connect with us

Crime

UPDATE: SPM Shopping Mall Scam – do you know someone involved? | VIDEO

Thaiger

Published

 on 

So the fallout of the SPM Shopping Mall app scam continues and police around the country are being swamped with official complaints from aggrieved victims, some who lost hundreds of thousands of baht.

Police have already started arresting people allegedly involved with the scam, or who may have been facilitating or encouraging others to join in the pyramid scheme.

A few comments.

Firstly is how reasonable people didn’t see that it was a scam. On the face of it, the whole thing had an air of legitimacy. The app appeared very professional and the idea of getting paid to click on products in order to push up their SEO is not new. Some schemes like this in the past were quite legitimate and some still exist where reviewers are rewarded for positive clicks.

But there were a few red flags with this scam.

Firstly the amounts of money they were offering in return for clicks was very high. The promise of paying participants between 10 – 14 days also had the hallmarks of a classic Ponzi scheme where the monies received from new participants are used to pay the older ones.

The pyramid scheme is where participants are asked to invite others, usually friends, into the scheme, where they will then earn commission from the people they introduce. Then they will earn a proportion of the commission of the people THEY introduce and so on down the line…

Finally, the messages that started coming from the Admins on the Line croups started to increasingly frantic pushing people to invest (indeed) more money into the scheme to make sure they could click on more of the shopping list items.

In the defence of the people that did get involved, they were often invited to get into the scheme by their family or friends, sometimes with stories of success and big earnings… certainly for the people that were involved in the early days and were at the top of the pyramid.

Their assurances and examples of big wins would have been difficult to ignore, even if you had a few niggling suspicions. And for many, their wages had been cut or they’d lost their job during the pandemic… they were more likely to take a risk.

Once on the website, and you clicked on various buttons, was the sound of coins clinking or the graphic roll of a poker machine screen. Of course you were always the winner… or virtual winner anyway.

For the people that acted as Admins of Line groups who were actively involved in procuring new ‘members’ into the scheme and encouraging them all to keep adding more money, whilst being paid 500 baht per day along the way, I have less sympathy for you if you ended up losing money. Likely you were making some decent coin in the early stages and your greed might have just got the better of you as you preyed on the people down the line in the pyramid.

The actual website and digital infrastructure of SPM Shopping Mall was very sophisticated, and, as we already know, took around 6 months to build… allegedly in Hong Kong and China, although regional variations needed people on the ground to open bank accounts and operate as initial Admins.

The elaborate nature of the back-end of SPM Shopping Mall will be difficult to unravel here in Thailand, particularly as the king pins don’t even live here and have, assuredly, left little digital finger prints to track the down.

The Thai police have already started arresting some of the Admins… the middle men, most of them victims of the scam themselves, in some sort of face saving action.

But the biggest fallout from all of this, as the whole scam continues to unravel, is not just the tens of thousands of people who have lost money… money they probably couldn’t afford to lose… but the loss of friends, family and workmates… and the loss of trust. THAT will take much longer to repair than the the thousands of baht will take to retrieve.

Just in my immediate sphere, some employees from one of The Thaiger peer companies, became involved in the SPM Shopping Mall scam and have lost tens of thousands of baht. And the people they trusted… workmates in the same office, who convinced them to get involved, have now caused a very fractious working environment. And that’s just one office.

Multiply this across tens of thousands of other offices, groups of friends and family, and you’ll see that this elaborate pyramid scam has caused widespread disruption, WAY beyond a simple loss of money.

If YOU have lost money from this scam, the best you can do is file an official police complaint and contact your bank to see if you can block any recent money transfers.

And be assured that this WILL happen again and people, again, will fall for the opportunity to make easy money. Another pyramid scam is certainly being put together right now.

Caveat emptor… let the buyer beware.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    James Pate

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 6:18 am

    Yep, 2 of the classic red flags: unreasonably high returns and more interested in members getting new recruits than anything else. I’m sure there are more, but that’s enough.

  2. Avatar

    brian mc

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    surely it being called “the SPM Shopping Mall app scam” is clue enough not to invest?

  3. Avatar

    farang

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    “The actual website and digital infrastructure of SPM Shopping Mall was very sophisticated, and, as we already know, took around 6 months to build…”

    Nothing of the above is true.

    The app and websites associated with the SPM scam were very simple, and could have been done by any IT student within a week of easy work. There was absolutely no “back end”, nothing behind it.

  4. Avatar

    Peter Smith

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 8:52 am

    I think your coverage of this was very good … the scam touched the lives of thousands of people, many of whom of course are already struggling with hardship.
    I heard of another a few days ago, apparently involving internet fraud and insurance. People lose lots of money and feel shamed and exploited. I hope you can continue to shine some light on these scams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Insurgency51 mins ago

Suspected insurgent wanted for murder killed by forces in Pattani

Thailand3 hours ago

Phang Nga reopening and “Phuket Sandbox” island hop extensions postponed

Best of4 hours ago

Bangkok’s 5 best SHA Plus Certified hotels

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 steakhouses in Phuket

Thailand4 hours ago

Bangkok Train Market official says they will reopen

Thailand4 hours ago

August vaccination plan: 80% of Bangkok residents; open to general public, expats

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand5 hours ago

300 beds added to Phuket’s second field hospital

Thailand5 hours ago

The Thaiger launches the ‘I Am Strong’ campaign

Indonesia5 hours ago

Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | More Dark red zones, ‘coup rumour’ quashed | August 2

Thailand6 hours ago

Man arrested for allegedly robbing 7-Eleven stores in Bangkok to pay off gambling debt

Thailand6 hours ago

Protestors fill Bangkok streets to protest Prayut, many protest leaders present

Crime7 hours ago

Teenagers arrested for allegedly running underage prostitution racket

Thailand7 hours ago

PM’s daughters get letter asking them to tell their father to resign

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 17,970 new cases, provincial totals

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending