Scammers nab 16 million baht from Chon Buri businessman through app

Chon Buri businessman was scammed, photo by Thai Rath.

Thailand’s scammers have struck again, nabbing 16 million baht from a Chon Buri businessman through an app. They used what they claimed was an Internal Trade Department app to take control of the victim’s phone.

The victim, 40 year old Watchara Srichuengcharoenchai, said one of the scammers called him on Friday, claiming to be an official from Internal Trade Department. Watchara said the ‘official’ told him to install an app since there was a new policy for entrepreneurs to update their information online.

Watchara said he was busy at the time, but then he received a LINE message telling him to click on the attached link. Watchara followed the instructions, and over the next 10 minutes, he received nine messages of money being withdrawn from his business account, followed by the emptying of over 150,000 baht from his personal accounts. At Meuang Chon Buri Police station, Watchara told Thai media…

“When the money was being withdrawn, I saw that my mobile phone was frozen by the app the fraudster told me to install. I quickly tried to reset the phone, but it wasn’t fast enough, and I have already reported the theft to the police.”

The scammers drained a total of 15.8 million baht from Watchara’s Siam Commercial Bank business account, into an account under the name of Ekkalak Phuangchana, with the PromptPay number 0959750066. The scammers also drained 150,000 baht from Watchara’s personal accounts.

Watchara urged the banks to find a way to get the money back, as most of it was from a joint venture business he is running with his sister.

Chon Buri Provincial Police Chief, Pol. Maj. Gen. Kampol Leelaprapaporn, said the investigation confirmed that the victim lost 16 million baht to call centre gangsters who tricked him into downloading an app that controlled his mobile phone. He added that details about his accounts have been obtained, and after more evidence has been collected, the case will be forwarded to the Cyber Crimes Investigation Division to track down the criminals.

Call centre scams have become increasingly common in Thailand in recent years. The scams typically involve fraudsters impersonating government officials or representatives from financial institutions and tricking victims into revealing their personal and financial information, or transferring money to the scammers’ accounts.

Thai authorities have been cracking down on call centre scams in recent years, with police regularly conducting raids on call centres and arresting suspected fraudsters. However, the scammers are often able to quickly adapt and find new ways to carry out their scams.

In December, dozens of Cambodian call centre scammers were rounded up by police in Sa Kaeo province. Through the website, police received complaints from victims duped into investing in a scam named “Amata” that promised high returns. Upon the due date, the victims were unable to withdraw any money and even went so far as to invest more.

Pattaya News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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