The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) has teamed up with the cyber crime police and related agencies to establish the Anti Online Scam Operation Centre (AOC) as a one stop service point the public can utilise to deal with cases of online fraud.
The AOC is scheduled to start operations on Nov 1. It will be operated through the use of war room functions, using technology to develop intelligent assistance as well as intelligence-based platforms to collect information and analyse the related data.
DES Minister Prasert Jantararuangthong said the centre represents part of the ministry's proactive moves to solve such problems faced by the public. The goal is to freeze any financial accounts affected by acts carried out by fraudsters within an hour of receiving a notification from the victim.
The AOC will be located at National Telecom's headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road, while the centre's hotline contact number for members of the public is 1441. Members of the public can register complaints regarding online fraud via this number, which is operated by the police.
Mr Prasert said number of cases of online fraud between March 2022 and August 2023 reached 320,000, or an average of roughly 600 cases per day. The damage was as high as 43 billion baht or an average of roughly 80 million baht per day.
"Traditional prevention and suppression methods would not be able to solve this problem," he noted.
Mr Prasert said the AOC and war room operations would complement the related law which recently became effective. The law provides victims, banks and the authorities with more options in the fight against online scammers and other forms of illegal online activity.
The law allows victims of an online scam to immediately file for the suspension of a mule account set up using their stolen identity via 15 banks' hotline numbers. They can also file a complaint with a police station, either in person or online.
Mr Prasert said the existing system takes two days to freeze an account from the moment a victim files a complaint with the police or their bank.
Meanwhile, when it comes to pursuing a lawsuit, under the regular system it can take roughly two months to carry out all the relevant procedures, starting from the point when the victim files a complaint with the police. This involves contacting the banks involved, along with the relevant agencies before proceeding the charges against the scammers.
He added that the ministry has developed its operations to tackle online scams. This includes the establishment of various special taskforces to manage and solve problems pertanining to financial fraud, online gambling, and mule accounts.
It is necessary to boost cooperation with various key online social platforms that have many users and request they be more responsible regarding the safety of the users. One critical point is they must not allow scams to take place on their platforms, such as letting scammers post fraudulent advertisements in an effort to deceive members of the public.