Wealthy businessman conned in 'gift phone' hack fraud

Wealthy businessman conned in 'gift phone' hack fraud

Pol Lt Gen Pakkapong Pongpetra, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, announces the arrest of Anontwat Vorametchayangkul, with the aid of a colourful flow chart explaining the case, during a media briefing on Thursday. (Photo supplied)
Pol Lt Gen Pakkapong Pongpetra, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, announces the arrest of Anontwat Vorametchayangkul, with the aid of a colourful flow chart explaining the case, during a media briefing on Thursday. (Photo supplied)

A man who studied computer science has been arrested for a complex fraud involving sending a gift phone, supposedly a promotion from a luxury hotel, to a wealthy businessman, and then using it to hack his bank accounts.

Anontwat Vorametchayangkul, 34, was apprehended on the street in front of Samut Prakan Central Prison in tambon Bang Bo, Pol Lt Gen Pakkapong Pongpetra, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said at a  news briefing on Thursday. 

The scam was revealed when Kasidit Visetthanakorn, 31, a businessman, posted a warning message on his Facebook page “Kasidit Kwang Visetthanakorn’’,  Pol Lt Gen Pakkapong, said.

Mr Kasidit had first received a message saying he had won a free mobile phone as a customer-reward from a luxury hotel.

A mobile phone was delivered to his house. Mr Kasidit later found out that 395,000 baht had subsequently been withdrawn without his knowledge from his bank accounts, the MPB chief said.

Pol Col Phuris Jintranan, superintendent of Huai Kwang police, began the investigation that led to the arrest of Mr Anontwat.

Mr Kasidit said he and his family had stayed at a luxury hotel in mid-May. Afterwards, a call was made to his phone, but he did not answer it. The same caller then contacted him again via his mother’s mobile number.

He was told that the had won a random lot drawing of hotel guests' names. He would receive a mobile phone and a package to stay at the hotel for free for three days and two nights. 

Later, someone came to his house and gave him a mobile phone. He was told to insert his SIM into the new phone for two hours, to confirm his right to get the reward. He later found out that his personal information had been stolen and 395,000 baht had disappeared from his bank accounts.

He filed a complaint with Huai Kwang police.

Niwat Lueangsirichian told police that he worked in the media. During the Covid-19 outbreak he looked for temporary work on job websites. He was hired to deliver mobile phones to three lucky people he was told had won them in a hotel promotion.

He was to receive 5,000 baht for the job, and was paid half in advance 

After delivering the phone to Mr Kasidit, he did not get the remaining money. He decided not to deliver the two other phones and tried to contact the person who hired him, to get his money, but could not do so.

He later learned that money had been stolen from Mr Kasidit’s accounts after he delivered the phone and instructions to him.

Mr Niwat insisted he was not involved in the fraud, and said he had no previous contact with the person who hired him. 

Pol Col Phuris said Mr Anontwat confessed to having stolen money from the victim’s bank accounts, using one-time passwords. 

Police investigators learned that the suspect had studied computer science in Germany for three years. After returning to Thailand, he got a well-paid job with a private firm and lavishly spent the money.  He then resigned.

Mr Anontwat had a criminal record, said Pol Col Phuris. He was wanted in nine cases, mostly for fraud.

An arrest warrant had been issued for an accomplice who was still at large, he said.

The suspect was initially charged with colluding in computer crime, and theft.



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