Cyber crime costs Thailand 6.76 billion baht in 70 days

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Cyber crime inflicted a devastating blow to Thailand’s economy with losses amounting to 6.76 billion baht (US$192 million) within a span of 70 days, as reported by the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB). Despite a decline in call centre scams, there was a noted surge in scams related to the struggling economy, including those promising additional income and fraudulent loan schemes.

As a countermeasure, Samsung, the renowned mobile phone manufacturer, introduced an Ad Blocker feature to shield Samsung Galaxy owners from malicious downloads, revealed Police Colonel Jessada Burinsuchat, superintendent of the Cyber Security Investigation Unit under the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau of the Royal Thai Police (RTN).

“We saw in the past 70 days that online cases continue to increase and criminals use a mix of techniques to lure potential victims.”

Pol. Col. Jessada cited the staggering loss of 6.76 billion baht, resulting from 53,179 reported cases.

Fraud related to the sale of products and services claimed a significant 50% of all incidences, amounting to a financial loss of 331 million baht (US$9.4 million). Scams enticing victims into money transfers under the guise of additional income were the second-most common, accounting for 10.6% of all scams. Investment cons constituted 5.3% of cases, albeit resulting in the highest financial damage at 3.1 billion baht (US$88 million).

“Criminals use technology such as deep fake to lure potential victims and avoid detection.”

Pol. Col. Jessada underscored the need for collective effort in tackling cybercrime, involving all stakeholders, including the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, telecom operators, and the Bank of Thailand.

Since the Cyber Crime Prevention and Suppression law was enacted in March 2023, the authorities have managed to freeze suspicious bank accounts and successfully recover victims’ funds in 24% of cases, a significant improvement from the previous 2.4%.

Cyber crime continues to wreak havoc, with a rising trend in cases. Data from 2023 revealed that cyber-attacks led to losses of up to 20 billion baht across 185,814 cases, averaging 700-800 cases daily, reported Bangkok Post.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Siriwat Deephor, RTN deputy spokesperson, disclosed that between March 17, 2023, and the end of the year, call centre scams ranked fifth in terms of cases, totalling an estimated loss of 2.4 billion baht (US$68 million) across 10,395 cases. Malicious app installations followed closely, ranking sixth, with damages of 1.4 billion baht (US$39 million) from 8,283 cases.

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