Illicit bank accounts face legal crackdown

Illicit bank accounts face legal crackdown

New rules will target online scammers

One suggestion involves allowing fraud victims to freeze transfers to nominee accounts.
One suggestion involves allowing fraud victims to freeze transfers to nominee accounts.

The Finance Ministry has instructed the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) to find ways to tackle fraudsters' use of nominees to open bank accounts, says the ministry's permanent secretary Krisada Chinavicharana.

Mr Krisada said online scams are escalating, including cases where victims are tricked into installing a mobile app that later enables scammers to transfer money from their bank accounts to accounts opened by nominees.

He said the ministry is considering introducing rules to allow victims to freeze suspicious accounts their money was transferred to in order to halt the damage. Mr Krisada said the cases involve several laws governing financial institutions, as well as criminal and civil law.

He proposed the victims should be allowed to freeze nominee accounts, or freeze the amount of the transfer.

Mr Krisada said the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry already proposed a heavier penalty for nominees who opened such suspicious bank accounts.

The FPO also collaborated with the Bank of Thailand to ask financial institutions to conduct stricter Know Your Customer procedures, or KYC, for new bank accounts.

He said people should not tie their main savings accounts to a mobile app that can transfer money to other accounts. They should instead set up a separate account with small amounts of money for daily use and link this account to the mobile payment app.

The cabinet last week approved a draft emergency decree meant to combat online fraud, letting financial institutions temporarily halt suspicious transactions for scrutiny.

The draft law was proposed by the DES Ministry.

The draft emergency decree for the prevention and suppression of technology crime was forwarded to the Council of State for vetting before it is enacted.

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