Thai Police Investigate 40,000 Online Banking Fraud Cases

Police have launched a comprehensive investigation after over 40,000 people lost at least 10 million baht due to unauthorized online transactions.

According to the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB)’s commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Kornchai Klaiklung, the police are working with the Bank of Thailand and the Thai Bankers’ Association to find a solution.

Initial checks revealed that around 40,000 people had lost their money through illegal transactions, said Pol Lt Gen Kornchai, adding that most victims had not realized that their money had been withdrawn because perpetrators charged small amounts.

Such withdrawals are only possible if perpetrators possess clients’ bank cards details, Pol Lt Gen Kornchai explained.

Police suspect multiple gangs used different methods to commit the crimes.

Online retailers and websites often store bank card details for customer convenience. But some gangs “phish” their victims’ cards details using text messages to ask them to fill in their personal information in exchange for benefits, including discounts, Pol Lt Gen Kornchai said.

Therefore, authorities warned the public not to enter their personal data into online forms from links from unknown or suspicious senders.

Pol Lt Gen Kornchai revealed that some charges and withdrawals had been made by store employees who stole customers’ card details while completing a transaction.

CCIB’s cybercrime analysis division’s commander Pol Maj Gen Niwet Apawasin said some charges had been initiated by online gaming platforms, adding that it would be easier to investigate applications registered in Thailand than those outside the country.

On Sunday, the Bank of Thailand and the Thai Bankers Association claimed that commercial banks’ systems had not been hacked, explaining that the irregular transactions were for payment to online stores registered outside the kingdom. In a statement, they said banks would accept responsibility for unauthorized withdrawals.

Meanwhile, the police will work with the Bank of Thailand and online vendors to find ways to prevent similar fraud, including mandatory registration in online stores or alerts when making suspicious withdrawals, Pol Maj Gen Niwet added.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered all agencies to take urgent action to end the problem.