Massive crackdown on scam calls: Over 13,000 SIM cards suspended

Photo courtesy of The Nation

In a move to combat the surge in mobile phone-related online scams, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) has unleashed a crackdown, suspending services for 13,237 SIM cards that were being misused to make over 100 calls daily.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Prasert Chantararuangthong revealed on January 25 that the suspension spree commenced on January 20 as a groundbreaking measure to tackle the escalating issue.

Effective from January 16, the ministry’s fresh regulations dictate that individuals holding six or more SIM cards must promptly verify their ownership with the respective service providers.

“Since January 20, a total of 13,237 SIM cards have been suspended, rendering it impossible to make calls from the associated phone numbers. This drastic action was taken in response to the alarming volume of calls emanating from these SIMs.”

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Of the suspended cards, 7,344 were registered with DTAC, 4,196 with AIS, 1,688 with True, and nine with NT (National Telecom). Some respite has been granted to the owners of 1,925 SIM cards, who successfully confirmed their ownership, resulting in the resumption of mobile services. However, a staggering 11,312 SIM cards remain uncertain as their owners are yet to present themselves, reported The Nation.

Under the Ministry’s new regulations, those registered under more than 100 SIM cards were mandated to verify ownership by February 14, while those holding six to 100 SIM cards had until July 13 to do so, or face service suspension.

“SIM card holders must verify their identity within the specified time frame, or face suspension and potential revocation. This stringent measure is aimed at thwarting criminals from exploiting SIM cards for online crimes.”

Prasert highlighted the pivotal role SIM cards play in criminal activities, especially within call centre gangs.

“Scammers leverage SIM cards for phone calls and malicious SMS with links. Strengthening SIM card regulations is a crucial step in putting a halt to these criminal operations.”

Looking ahead, the MDES minister announced the Ministry’s upcoming battle against scam short messages, a reference to deceitful messages containing malicious links used by scammers to compromise victims’ mobile phones.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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