Many Thai women say they have been scammed by a matchmaking service on Facebook after paying money in the hope of finding love with a foreign man.
The women incurred a total loss worth around 881 million baht, said the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) on Wednesday.
CCIB spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said victims had filed reports to police accusing an online matchmaker, whose Facebook page is followed by 150,000 people, of swindling them out of hundreds of millions of baht.
He said that the famous matchmaker provides dating services for Thai women looking for farang partners, a term referring to European-looking people. The excellence of the men's profiles depends on the package price set by the matchmaker.
The simplest package is 20,000 baht for farang engineers and office workers, 30,000 baht for developers and businessmen, 50,000 baht for doctors and pharmacists and 100,000 baht for dairy farm owners and vineyard owners.
Pol Col Kissana also added that the matchmaker claims to create profiles on online-dating sites for her customers for 7,000 baht and provides private coaching on how to get a farang husband at 5,000 baht.
Victims reported that the matchmaker did not introduce them to anyone, and the pictures of the farang men she had sent them were, in fact, of celebrities, athletes or high-profile businessmen.
Pol Col Kissana said that from March 2022 to Sept 17 of this year, there were 2,621 cases related to matchmaking scams, making this kind of romance scam the 12th most reported crime, with a total loss of 881 million baht.
The investigation followed the case of seven female victims who had paid over 100,000 baht for the matchmaking service, hoping that the matchmaker would find them high-profile men.
After realising they were scammed, the victims went to well-known lawyer Decha Kittivittayanan to file reports to the police, expecting to bring the case to court.
One of the victims revealed that she is a single mother who wishes to find a Western husband so she can relocate with her child abroad. With the matchmaker's advertisement boasting many successful matches, she decided to pay for the service.
Mr Decha said that over 10 victims of the scam had contacted him.