DES Ministry starts verifying 106 million online bank accounts

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2024

Initial checks show names 30 million mobile bank accounts and registered SIM cards do not match, as DES Ministry launches new crackdown on scamsters

The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry will check 106 million mobile bank accounts to determine which are being used in scams.

DES Minister Prasert Chanthararuangthong said on Tuesday that officials started checking the names of account holders against the names registered for the SIM cards being used to get money from victims on Monday.

He said preliminary checks found that some 30 million mobile bank accounts were tied to SIM cards registered in different names. Prasert said the initial focus will be on bank accounts that have been opened using mobile apps.

“It will take about 120 days to finish checking all accounts and it is likely to be completed in October,” Prasert said. “It takes time because we have to check close to a million accounts per day.”

Prasert said the DES Ministry was in the process of drafting regulations offering some exemptions. For example, he said, if the name registered for a mobile bank account and related SIM card are different, they will be exempted if they are names of family members. Executors of estate appointed by court will also be exempted, he said.

The exemption will also apply to employees of companies that have bought SIM cards for them, he added.

DES Ministry starts verifying 106 million online bank accounts

“This measure will not affect innocent people, but will protect people from being talked into transferring money to mule accounts,” Prasert said.

The minister added that the DES Ministry has also called on mobile phone operators to not raise their fees when people change or register their SIM card for online banking accounts.

He said the government will also coordinate with banks to increase conditions for allowing clients to open multiple bank accounts.

Prasert said banks will also be asked why some clients were allowed to have more than 100 accounts. Some have been found to have opened as many as 400 accounts.

The minister said mobile phone users who use prepaid SIM cards will also be required to register and identify themselves with operators by July 13 or their SIM cards would be disabled.