Thais received over 6m fraudulent calls in 2021, SMS scams soared by 57%: Whoscall
More than 6.4 million fraudulent phone calls were made in Thailand last year, increasing 270 per cent from the previous year, anti-fraud application Whoscall reported on Wednesday.
Scams via the short message service, or SMS, rose by 57 per cent year on year, with the most common method being phishing links inviting victims to download apps that siphon personal information.
The number of fraudulent calls globally last year reached 460 million, a 58 per cent increase from the previous year, Whoscall said.
It expects the trend to continue and expand even faster towards the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, fraudulent messages worldwide in 2021 increased more than 70 per cent year on year, with phishing links being the most common form of scams. These links lure victims to add friends to fake accounts on social media or access fake websites that steal their information or charge money from their linked credit cards.
Thitinan Suthinaraphan, head of Marketing at Whoscall developer Gogolook Thailand, said SMS scams are popular since they have a low cost and can reach targeted victims in wider groups.
“People should be cautious when receiving calls or messages from suspicious sources, as answering or clicking them can lead to a loss of asset or personal information,” she warned.
Thitinan said the most common scamming calls found in Thailand were from call centre gangs who claim to be from a delivery service and ask victims to provide personal information or transfer money as customs or delivery fees in order to receive a package.
“These calls have been reported frequently since April last year. From September to December 2021, such fraudulent calls have cost victims over 100 million baht,” she said.
“Another form of scamming calls that were reported frequently is from persons claiming to be police officers investigating a case that the victim was supposed to be involved in. The callers then demand that the victims provide personal information or give them money to make the charge go away,” Thitinan added.
Whoscall has more than 100 million downloads worldwide. It can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Play Store. Once installed and set up, Whoscall will help identify unknown phone numbers and can also scan links from potentially malicious SMS messages.