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Thailand Intensifies Efforts to Combat Online Crime

Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES), evaluated the effectiveness of the country’s efforts to prevent online crime. He directed Wetan Phuangsub, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, to continue cracking down on illicit cross-border internet use, ghost SIM fixation, and the suppression of fraudulent accounts.

“The problem of cybercrime impacts many persons’ lives and possessions. The NBTC office dealt with many SIM owners who had not yet registered officially, thanks to the collaboration of the AMLO Office and the Banking Association in resolving the false account situation. Including the illicit use of the Internet throughout the nation and the Royal Thai Police, which hastens the prosecution of offenders,” Chaiwut praised.

Meanwhile, Thepsu Bowonchotdara, Deputy Secretary-General of the AMLO Office; Pol. Maj. Gen. Niwet Apawasin, Technology Crime Investigation Bureau; and Suthisak Tantayothin, Deputy Secretary-General of the NBTC Office, provided reports on progress in combating online crime.

To address ghost SIM issues, the NBTC has mandated that about 8,000 users with more than 100 SIM cards prove their identification by January 23. In addition, in the case of illicit cross-border internet trafficking, the NBTC has directed telecommunications service providers to investigate the use of cross-border internet services. The agency has also collaborated with necessary legal officials to check and locate the crime site and the perpetrator.

Meanwhile, the AMLO Office has issued a notification to resolve bogus accounts and suspected accounts used for unlawful activity. When a criterion for determining or revising the list of high-risk individuals arises, the notice alerts. The suspicious performance will be continuously monitored following that, in compliance with the Ministerial Regulation on Customer Fact-Awareness. Furthermore, the AMLO has notified financial institutions of around 1,000 identities of offenders. The financial institution will continue to take appropriate steps.

Aside from that, Thailand is increasing efforts to raise citizen awareness of cybercrime. The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society have launched a programme to help people strengthen their online literacy abilities.

Chaiwut agrees that as Thailand enters the digital era, cyber dangers have intensified, with technology and online transactions driving practically all activity. With 59,794 online complaints, ETDA recorded an increase in online scams 348 times in 2022 (January – November 2022). In comparison, only 54 interactions were made in 2021.

The information was gathered via the online complaint-handling service of the 1212ETDA Online Help and Problem Management Centre. The contact centre observed that the most common internet scam is still online trading problems, followed by unlawful websites, call centre gangs, SMS fraud, etc.

Furthermore, the government has established an application to help safeguard individuals against internet scammers, fake news, and financial fraud, which are significant concerns in Thailand. The Ministry of Digital worked with the state-owned Krung Thai Bank to establish “Pao Tang,” an online scam and disinformation warning system.

The app will not only provide financial services, but it will also serve as another avenue for disseminating information, as confirmed by government organisations. The apps will issue warnings about internet fraud and fake news associated with financial fraud or financial crime. As a result, consumers can keep up with the current situation and manage the new complexity that has caused significant damage.

The technology will connect data from the Anti-Fake News Centre (AFNC) databases at the Ministry of Digital Affairs to service providers. Furthermore, the wallet software sends warnings regarding financial fraud and erroneous information in various formats.

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