Police on hunt for two men over Tinder fraud
Air hostesses' photos used to lure victims
Police are looking for two men suspected of using pictures of at least three Thai Airways International (THAI) air hostesses to cheat men via a dating application.
The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) said it was investigating a complaint filed by two of the air hostesses, who were not named, employed by THAI, and who claimed their pictures had been posted online without their knowledge to swindle money from at least 30 men.
A CSD source said one of the men who says he fell victim to the scam told police he had wired 15,000 baht to one of the three air hostesses' accounts after she claimed to be in need of cash overseas.
The man, who was not identified, told police he registered to use the Tinder dating application and came across a good-looking woman who claimed to be working for the national carrier.
As they began chatting, he did not suspect anything was amiss as the woman kept sending him updated pictures of her online.
They kept in contact regularly and he was under the impression they were in a relationship. The woman, however, avoided meeting him in person saying she was busy with flight duties overseas.
One day, she told him she had lost her credit card while in another country and asked him for a loan of 15,000 baht, which he transferred to her. After that, she became distant, prompting the man to tell his friends who agreed he might have been duped.
The man went to Bang Yi Khan police to lodge a complaint in Bangkok last month.
Earlier, the two air hostesses filed a complaint with the CSD alleging their pictures had been stolen from their Facebook pages and used to cheat men on the dating application.
They said they had received phone calls from different men who insisted the air hostesses had received money from them but refused to meet them.
The two women maintained they had no idea what was going on as the airline set up an inquiry to investigate them. They suspected their photos were being used in a scam.
One air hostess said she had now been charged with fraud and was informed of the charge against her at a local police station in Bangkok. She said the criminal action has tarnished her reputation and put her career at risk as she faces the prospect of disciplinary action.
Meanwhile, the CSD source said police have launched an investigation into the case. According to the police, pictures of attractive air hostesses were taken from their Facebook pages by the culprits who uploaded them on the dating application to dupe mostly single men as well as married men looking to hook up with women.
The source said police found victims had been tricked into transferring millions of baht to the suspects between 2014 and last year.
THAI has also sought help from the CSD police to look into the matter. The police believe at least three THAI air hostesses' photos were used in the scam.
The police said their investigation has narrowed down the culprits to two men, one of whom is wanted under nine arrest warrants on charges of swindling and fraud. The investigators were also checking the criminal background of the other man.
The police believe the two suspects live together on the outskirts of Bangkok.
The suspects, according to the source, took the three air hostesses' pictures and changed their names, obviously intending to complicate the police investigation and mislead them.