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Whoscall Annual Report 2023: Thailand is biggest victim of SMS fraud in Asia

Scam attempts in Thailand increase by 12.2 million

Thais receive 20.8 million scam calls and 58 million fraudulent SMS messages

Bangkok, Thailand 27 March 2024: Whoscall, the leading app to identify unknown callers and prevent smartphone scams, reveals that scam attempts in Thailand increased by 12.2 million from 2022. The report found that Thailand is the biggest target for SMS scams in Asia, receiving a total of 58 million suspicious messages throughout the year, and shows scammers use fake links, fake login requests, prompts to download malicious software and fake one-page shopping sites in their attempts to trick the public.

The data was released as part of Whoscall’s annual report which studies the behavior of scamming through incoming calls, messages and links from SMS messages. The study found fraudsters in Thailand are most likely to use SMS messages to deceive Thais, sending 58.3 million messages in 2023. Scammers use a variety of tactics, fraudulent loan proposals and gambling websites are among the most frequent messages distributed. The study also warned the public to be more vigilant of new fraudster tactics which include impersonating delivery service and government agencies such as electricity authority in their attempts to defraud the public.

 

Asian fraud landscape unveiled
The 2023 Asia Fraud Annual Report found that there were 347.3 million phone and SMS scams worldwide, a 14% decreased from the 405.3 million incidents recorded in 2022. In Asia, the regional fraud trend decreased for the second consecutive year due to cooperation to raise awareness of online fraud threats between governments, business and the public.

More risk of deception than ever before in Thailand
Despite the decrease in scams in Asia and around the world, the study found Thais are at greater risk than ever before of falling victim to online fraud with 79 million fraudulent calls and scam SMS messages attempted, an 18% increase from 2022’s total of 66.7 million scam attempts. During 2023 Thais received 20.8 million scam calls increased by 22% from 17 million scam calls in 2022. The fraudulent SMS messages increased by 17% from 49.7 million in 2022 to 58 million in 2023.

 

Thais at highest risk of SMS fraud in Asia
Data reveals that Thais receive 20.3 fraudulent SMS messages , the highest in Asia, followed by the Philippines with 19.3 SMS and Hong Kong with 16.2 SMS. This alarming trend highlights a growing issue in the region, prompting authorities and cybersecurity experts to urge the public to exercise increased caution and awareness to safeguard against potential scams and financial losses.

Scammers continue to target Thai people by sending scam SMS messages, focusing mostly on online gambling and loans, attracting victims with key phrases such as ‘new username’, ‘free giveaways’, and ‘get 500 baht free when making your first deposit’. In addition, scammers have also started impersonating government agencies, like the electricity authority.

Titinun Suttinaraphan, Gogolook’s SEA Regional Marketing Director, says, “Our report shows that Thais are at most risk in Asia of being scammed by SMS and calls. Fraudsters are growing increasingly sophisticated, employing personalized tactics and leveraging readily available data to craft highly targeted scams. This trend poses a significant threat to individual privacy and financial security. At Whoscall, we understand the gravity of this issue and strongly encourage Thais to be extra vigilant. Remember, staying informed and empowered is key. By using Whoscall as a preventive tool, you gain a vital shield against personalized scams, protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your entire community.”

 

In June 2023 Whoscall introduced features to allow users to scan URLs and detect suspicious SMS messages. As a result, it found that 4.5% messages contained suspicious links with the three most common messages featuring fake login requests (27%), prompts to download malicious software (20%) and links to fake one-page shopping sites (8%).

Even though there is a lot of information and education available about the dangers of cyber criminals, today’s scams are evolving at an unprecedented speed making it challenging for the public. This is because fraudsters typically use leaked personal information and create realistic scenarios making it more difficult for people to identify and this makes it possible for scammers to steal more money from victims.

Manwoo Joo, Gogolook’s Chief Operating Officer said “ Whoscall is steadfast in its commitment to remaining the leading force in the global fight against scams, with a particular focus on protecting our Thai community. Our dedication goes beyond just raising awareness. The recently added features of URL scanner and SMS detector demonstrate that we are constantly innovating and developing our product to ensure it provides the ultimate protection against scammers.

“Whoscall’s vision is to empower Thais with the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe from fraud in an increasingly digital world. We believe strong partnerships across different industries are crucial to achieving this goal. By collaborating with Royal Thai Police, National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA), telecommunications companies like True Corporation, financial institutions, and government agencies, we can amplify our reach, share valuable insights, and drive collective action against scammers. Together, we can create a safer online environment for everyone in Thailand.”

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