Cyber Police report that Thai women are being warned about romance scams or online dating fraud, which have cost victims millions. Many romance scams are run by call-center gangs that create bogus dating app profiles.
They create profiles of attractive, intelligent, and successful men with well-paying jobs and affluent backgrounds.
Thailand’s Cyber police claim that the offenders persuade their victims to invest in Ponzi schemes before disappearing. They said roughly 900 cases were reported between March and September, with the total amount lost to fraud estimated to be 200-300 million baht.
Cyber Police Say Keep Personal Information Private
When meeting people through online dating apps, don’t give your personal information, and don’t transfer money to anyone you don’t know or whose information you can’t verify, Cyber Police said.
Scammers, he claims, may approach victims through social media platforms such as Facebook or Line apps and share fabricated stories.
Once the fraudsters have obtained the victims’ personal information, such as age and occupation, they would look for weak points in the relationship and abuse it for financial benefit.
Most victims are single, divorced, or widowed individuals seeking companionship. Some are more vulnerable because they share much of their personal life on social media or dating apps.
Cyber Police advised victims to gather their conversation history and transaction proof to serve as evidence while filing a police report.
Pol Maj Gen Thitiwat Suriyachai, commander of the Cyber Crime Investigation Division, speaking at a seminar held by the Friends of Women Foundation, a non-profit organization that identifies victims of fraud and other sorts of crime in disadvantaged regions and provides business skills training to assist them in finding routes to economic empowerment.
It was held in the aftermath of the mid-October arrest of a man accused of sexually harassing and murdering a woman he met on a dating app.
He subsequently escaped to the southern province of Phatthalung before being apprehended by the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) alongside another woman he was found to have battered.
The Victim told Cyber Police they had communicated on another dating app for a month before she rode the train from Lamphun province in the north to see him in Phatthalung.
Later, she was detained against her will and beaten by a man who also used drugs.
It is frequently reported that users of online dating applications encounter inappropriate behaviour from people they match with.
Some people are uneasy when they meet strangers on dating apps, and one in every three claims to have been sexually harassed while on a date.
Cybersecurity Education is Needed
According to Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn, a psychiatrist and former director-general of the Department of Health, many women are uncomfortable rejecting males, and many criminals exploit this tendency for personal advantage.
“Many victims are suspicious and sense danger quickly; nonetheless, they are unable to exit the relationships and end up being abused,” she explained.
Dr. Panpimol said that cyber safety should be taught to individuals of all ages because children and adults can become victims of online romance crime.
She also believes that there should be more internet services for women seeking help and escaping violent situations.
Another speaker, Uthaiwan Jamsutee, director of the Attorney General’s Office’s Child Rights Protection and Family Centre, stated that such internet offences violate both the Computer Crime Act and the Criminal Code.
She stated that a newly passed statute on measures to prevent recurrent sexual or violent criminal offences will go into force on January 23, 2023.
According to the Justice Ministry, more than half of all criminals who commit violent or sexual offences commit them again within three years. According to Ms. Uthaiwan, the measure is being adopted to reduce recidivism.
Thai Women Seek a Better Future
According to Chongcharoen Sornkaew, vice president of the Thai Women’s Network in Europe, many Thai women try to meet foreign men online to enhance their quality of life or relocate to improve their financial status.
However, many people struggle to establish relationships with foreign partners, and some struggle to adapt to new, unfamiliar situations.
According to Ms. Chongcharoen, many Thai women brag about their marriages to foreign men on social media, stating they can support their parents and pay for their children’s schooling.
“However, the claims published on social media are not always true, and those women who believe them may become more vulnerable,” she warned.
Ms. Chongcharoen noted that internet assistance should be quick, and real shelters are needed for them to seek sanctuary from dangerous men.