Emergency decree endorsed to tackle online fraud
published : 27 Jan 2023 at 08:18
newspaper section: Business
writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
The cabinet has approved a draft emergency decree meant to combat online fraud, enabling financial institutions to halt suspicious transactions temporarily for scrutiny, says Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn.
The draft emergency decree on the prevention and suppression of technology crime will be forwarded to the Council of State for vetting before it is enacted, Mr Chaiwut said on Thursday.
The draft law proposed by the DES Ministry was approved at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, he said.
It was designed to clamp down on online scammers and call centre gangs, in line with the ministry's top priority for 2023, as these problems have become increasingly critical amid the latest digital trends, he said.
The legislation enables financial institutions and business operators to exchange information about their clients' accounts and transactions through a data exchange system.
The law also allows telecom operators to exchange information about their customers and enables the Royal Thai Police, the Anti-Money Laundering Office and authorised agencies to gain access to this data.
The Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is authorised to develop a centralised database with users' mobile service registrations and short messages for investigation and fraud prevention.
The decree allows financial institutions and businesses that are able to identify suspicious transactions or are notified by officials of such transactions to suspend them.
They then have to inform financial institutions or businesses that received the transferred money to halt further transactions temporarily.
If no wrongdoing is identified, the transactions may proceed.
When they are notified by fraud victims, financial institutions and businesses are required to suspend transactions and immediately notify financial institutions or businesses that received transferred funds to suspend further transactions temporarily.
This step is meant to give the victims time to lodge a police complaint within 48 hours, while police investigators are obliged to probe the suspicious accounts within seven days of being notified.
The notification of related information and evidence can be done via a phone call or electronic means.
The law also contains details pertaining to punishments.
Individuals are prohibited from providing access to their bank accounts, electronic cards or e-wallet accounts to people they do not want to use them. They are also barred from allowing others to use their SIM cards if they should know such a move could facilitate illegal activity.
Violators could face a jail term of up to three years and a maximum fine of 300,000 baht, or both.
Anyone who works for others to procure or sell bank accounts, electronic cards, e-wallet accounts, SIM cards or advertises such offerings that could facilitate crimes could face a jail term of 2-5 years and a fine of 200,000-500,000 baht, or both.
Mr Chaiwut said the decree is vital to prevent and deter online crimes, which have been escalating.
The law can help clear up some legal complications that hamper collaboration between relevant organisations in terms of combatting online crime, he said.