The combined value of damage caused by online fraud in Thailand has continued to rise, even though the number of victims has declined to an average of 580 complaints per day, from 800 earlier this year, thanks to a new law tackling cybercrime, according to the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry.
DES Minister Prasert Jantararuangthong said it was found that scammers specifically focused more on their targeted groups, who are likely to be deceived, resulting in a larger value of damage.
The recent enforcement of the cybercrime prevention and suppression law makes it much more difficult for scammers to commit fraudulent acts, so they try to specifically deceive people with increasingly sophisticated tricks, he added.
However, the ministry is rapidly developing a war room to tackle the online fraud through core components such as the Central Fraud Registry which will expand the ministry's role and accountability for dealing with fraud through collaboration with 300 related agencies and parties.
The ministry is also preparing to further enhance the existing Anti Fake News Center (AFNC) by establishing what it calls the Task Force Command Center to proactively deal with online crime and financial scams, using data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to increase transparency, neutrality, and ensure accurate information for the public.
Mr Prasert said that with the war room and the command centre, the ministry expected to see better results in terms of online scam prevention by the end of this year.
He said online scams were one of the most critical targets of the ministry and the government.
Mr Prasert has also prioritised other tasks, including the promotion of the e-government process and cybersecurity, as well as bridging the digital divide in remote areas and pushing forward all ongoing projects.
Although the country now has a law to directly tackle online scams, it needs to be complemented with an action plan and collaboration by all related parties, he added.
The new law on cybercrime prevention and suppression gives victims, banks, and the authorities more options in fighting online scams and other illegal online activities.
The law allows victims of online scams to immediately file for the suspension of a mule account that has been set up using their stolen identity via 15 banks' hotline numbers and to file a scam complaint with police stations, both physically and online.
The law additionally gives banks the authority to temporarily suspend a suspected mule account and to use AI technology to investigate illicit transactions. The law also outlines the punishment of cybercriminals.
The AFNC operates through a social listening tool for collecting and verifying data to warn against fake news in four news categories, consisting of disaster news, economic news, news on health products and cosmetics as well as other illegal goods and services, and news on government policy.