Bangkok Post

Virus relief fraudsters con workers



>>Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana has vowed to crack down on people who demand a “commission” by offering to help informal workers applying for 5,000-baht financial aid granted by the government to relieve the Covid19 impact.

The demands for payment have been made even though applicants can easily register their requests online, and come as state-owned Krung Thai Bank reported yesterday that at least 44 phoney websites have been opened to fool workers into revealing their private informatio­n.

Only www.ѯіѥѳєҕъѧкд­Ѥь .com is the authentic channel for the registrati­on, which opened at 6pm yesterday.

The Thai phrase in the website address means: “You will never walk alone.”

On his Facebook page, Mr Uttama warned the workers, whose numbers are estimated at about 3 million, not to believe the fraudsters.

Finance officials are conducting an investigat­ion and “we are ready to strictly enforce laws on those who aggravate workers’ troubles,” Mr Uttama said.

The wrongdoers will face cheating charges and are subject to a maximum sentence of three years, a fine of up to 60,000 baht, or both, Finance Ministry spokesman Lawaron Sangsanit told media.

As well as asking for commission­s, they use other tricks similar to notorious call centre scams.

They might pose as bank officials calling workers to offer to facilitate their registrati­on but, in fact, they lure people into revealing confidenti­al financial and personal informatio­n, according to a Krung Thai cybersecur­ity expert.

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has been asked to take legal action against the administra­tors of the 44 illicit websites. However, the real ѯіѥѳєъҕ кѧ дьѤ .com faced some technical glitches yesterday evening when applicants tried to log on its web page.

“The process is unsuccessf­ul. Please try again,” said a message which popped up during registrati­on. Many applicants saw this message before the website stopped working.

Meanwhile, at least 10 banks have closed branches in shopping malls on weekends to contain the spread of coronaviru­s, following a report that people flocked to Government Savings Bank branches to open new accounts to receive the 5,000-baht relief. The long queues sparked concern over the spread of the virus.

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