Amidst growing concerns over online fraud, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES), in unison with the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) police and other associated agencies, is launching an Anti Online Scam Operation Centre (AOC).
The AOC, which begins its operations on November 1, is set to function as a war room, implementing technology to provide intelligent assistance, collecting and analysing relevant data pertaining to online scams.
The DES Minister, Prasert Jantararuangthong, emphasised the AOC as a proactive step towards addressing the challenges faced by the public in the realm of online fraud. The intent is to immediately freeze any financial accounts implicated in fraudulent activities within an hour of a victim’s notification.
The AOC will be headquartered at National Telecom’s office on Chaeng Wattana Road. The public can report online scam incidents via the centre’s hotline, 1441, which is managed by the police.
Between March 2022 and August 2023, Prasert noted that online fraud cases peaked at 320,000, averaging approximately 600 cases per day. The financial impact of these scams was staggering, reaching 43 billion baht (US$1,169,925,000), averaging nearly 80 million baht (US$ 2,176,604) daily, reported Bangkok Post.
“Traditional prevention and suppression methods would not be able to solve this problem.”
The AOC and its war room operations, according to Prasert, will be instrumental in enforcing the newly enacted law to tackle online scams. This law broadens the avenues available to victims, banks, and authorities in combating online scammers and other illegal online activities.
Under the new law, victims of online scams can instantly request for the suspension of a mule account created using their stolen identity via 15 banks’ hotline numbers. They also have the option to file a complaint at a police station, in person or online.
Prasert divulged that the current system takes two days to freeze an account once the victim reports the fraud to the police or their bank.
Legal proceedings, under the conventional system, can span approximately two months, from the point when the victim files a police complaint. This process entails liaising with the involved banks and relevant agencies before initiating charges against the scammers.
Additionally, the ministry has amplified its efforts to counter online scams, including the formation of special task forces to address issues related to financial fraud, online gambling, and mule accounts.
Prasert stressed the need for enhanced cooperation with prominent online social platforms. Urging them to take responsibility for user safety, he underscored the importance of preventing scams on their platforms, such as deceptive advertisements posted by scammers intending to defraud the public.
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