Thailand tackles fraud with mobile bank account name verification

Picture courtesy of Ministry of Digital Economy and Society

Mobile bank account holders can continue using their services uninterrupted as authorities work to ensure the names of account holders match those of phone subscribers, according to the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES). This initiative aims to tackle the misuse of bank accounts by fraudsters.

The crackdown, launched at the beginning of the week, has caused some concern among users with phone numbers registered under different names, despite not being involved in any illegal activities.

DES Minister Prasert Jantararuangthong reassured users that their access to online banking services would remain unaffected during the 120-day data examination period. This process is part of efforts to control the prevalence of so-called mule accounts.

A joint panel, including the DES, the Thai Bankers’ Association, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo), has been formed to tackle the issue of mule accounts. The panel clarified their action plans in response to confusion and concern about the potential impact on mobile banking services, said Prasert.

“The 120 days is the period required for the banks, the NBTC, Amlo, and mobile service providers to conduct the data examination.”

The panel stressed that these measures would not impose additional financial burdens on users, particularly concerning fees for new mobile packages. Prasert noted that Thailand has approximately 106 million mobile banking accounts, with around 30 million not registered under the same name as the corresponding mobile phone subscriber.

Exceptions will be made for certain individuals who hold mobile banking accounts under different names than those used for their phone subscriptions. These exceptions include family members, court-appointed guardians, juristic persons with demonstrable needs, and others deemed by banks to have reasonable grounds, Prasert said.

“These four categories can be collectively referred to as a whitelist.”

The panel will review the measures post-October and consider extending the data review period if necessary. Prasert expressed optimism about a potential decrease in the number of mismatched accounts during the 120-day period, reported Bangkok Post.

The DES Ministry has urged individuals with mismatched identities and SIM card registrations to promptly verify their identities with their mobile service provider. Additionally, mobile bank account holders with discrepancies between their bank and phone subscription names should notify their respective banks to explain the differences.

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Bright Choomanee

With a degree in English from Srinakharinwirot University, Bright specializes in writing engaging content. Her interests vary greatly, including lifestyle, travel, and news. She enjoys watching series with her orange cat, Garfield, in her free time.

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