Central bank issues warning about online financial scams

Bank of Thailand is warning consumers to beware of online financial fraud as incidents have escalated as the pandemic pushes more people to digital outlets.

The regulator sounded the alarm as scams escalated, with more people desperate for cash amid the pandemic. Digital fraud can take many forms, including SMS messages, or through the Line app, Facebook, digital lending apps, and cell phones.

Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, central bank deputy governor for payment systems policy and financial technology group, said the bank is cooperating with other regulators, especially the Office of the National Broadcasting and Broadcasting Commission. telecommunications (NBTC), to monitor and prevent online financial fraud.

The central bank warns people not to believe information that appears to be false or tries to trick users into carrying out financial transactions. People should investigate any suspicious transactions by checking directly with financial institutions, she said.

Consumers should not share their personal data and documents with others. The Bank of Thailand is cooperating with financial institutions to educate consumers about cases of fraud, Ms. Siritida said.

The central bank plans to work with financial institutions to promote financial literacy as a way to fight fraud. Online financial fraud is on the agenda of the Bank of Thailand’s Bangkok FinTech Fair 2021, which will take place online from October 18-19.

Ms Siritida said the central bank has approved financial institutions and fintech companies offering digital loans to make it easier for consumers to access financial sources. The existing digital processes and cybersecurity systems are secure enough to provide central bank licensed digital lending services, she said.

Consumers can apply for digital loans without going to a bank branch to verify their identity.

Tana Pothikamjorn, managing director of Kasikorn Line, which offers digital loans through the Line BK platform, a business of Kasikornbank and Line Corp, said that in addition to financial literacy, the company places importance on digital literacy, aimed at preventing consumers from falling victim to online financial fraud.

While cases of digital financial fraud have increased dramatically during the pandemic, the problem is occurring on a case-by-case basis rather than on a large scale, Tana said.

The maximum line of credit for digital loans is typically around 100,000 baht per borrower, with an average of 50,000 baht. This amount is quite high for low-income people, who make up the majority of victims of online fraud cases and also suffer from the impact of the pandemic, he said.

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