Why scams pack punch

Why scams pack punch
A Lamborghini seized during the arrest of Forex-3D boss Apiruk Kothi at a condo in the Thong Lor area of Bangkok is displayed outside the Department of Special Investigation’s headquarters on Jan 14, 2021. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A Lamborghini seized during the detain of Forex-3D manager Apiruk Kothi in a condo in the Thong Lor area of Bangkok is displayed outside of the Department of Exclusive Investigation’s headquarters upon Jan 14, 2021. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

There is no shortage of issues with financial scams in recent years, ranging from selling non-existent products to appealing to double the cash for prospective investors in a short time.

Scams cost individuals billions of baht within estimated losses. The particular “Forex -3D” structure, which surfaced in the past and returned in order to public attention following the indictment of celebrity Savika “Pinky” Chaiyadej, is at its maximum believed to have drafted to 50, 1000 victims and complete investments worth just as much as 30 billion baht, according to the Secretary to the Minister of Proper rights, Acting Sub Lt Thanakrit Jitareerat.

In a current scam involving the Thai YouTuber, Suchata Kongsupajak, better referred to as Nutty, about six, 000 people are believed to have fallen for a scam with economic damages exceeding 2 billion baht.

While investigating fraudsters and bringing them to justice might not be difficult for law enforcement agencies, recovering taken money for the sufferers is another story.

Despite warnings from authorities, many people still go ahead along with dodgy investments plus end up losing their particular hard-earned money.

Get rich quick

Some people are lured in to scams by claims of high returns which they can enjoy, the people behind them say, without the need for knowledge or expertise, said Piyasiri Wattanavarangkul, former movie director of the Department associated with Special Investigation’s Bureau of Illegal Financial Business Crime.

“They are motivated by the promises of high returns in a short time and earnings from recruiting new investors. Also, they don’t have to have any knowledge about the particular schemes. The economic situation may play a part. But these are external factors. The internal factors are usually greed and ignorance, ” he mentioned.

Mr Piyasiri, who now serves as deputy secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) after years of chasing fraudsters at the DSI, said many people repeatedly fall for this kind of scams, which suggest they are aware of dangers and willing to take the capsules.

One key reason that Ponzi schemes are growing is that participants are not aware of the lawful consequences they will encounter. It is important to raise community awareness that Ponzi scam participants risk losing not only their money but independence as well if they request others to join fake investment schemes, this individual said.

According to Mr Piyasiri, there are seven varieties of Ponzi schemes in the country: foreign exchange trading; cryptocurrency expenditure; direct sales; commodity or service investment; ahead contracts; fund mobilisation; and charity frauds.

Below Thai law, forex trading must be licensed from the Bank of Asia so legal workers are commercial banks, financial institutions and authorised agents. To attract investors, scammers generally organise workshops upon forex trading which provide them with an opportunity to get access to their potential victims.

As for cryptocurrency trading, business operators in this market need a licence to operate and therefore are subject to scrutiny by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Nevertheless , many investors are not aware of this and make investments with illegal trading platforms which claim to operate in electronic asset exchanges abroad, he said.

Not all direct selling are scams, however they are scams when they focus on bringing in brand new members rather than marketing products, and when users get compensated regarding recruiting people, as opposed to the sales their business generates.

Commodity investment plus forward contracts include speculative investments where individuals are tricked along with promised high returns especially when prices soar. Gold, oil plus agricultural products like rice are used in these bogus schemes, he said.

Fund mobilisatiion frauds are straightforward along with investors urged to purchase stocks. Charity scams can come in numerous forms and the most typical is a cremation program fund where associates deposit money for the promise their families would certainly receive a lump sum on their death.

Mr Piyasiri said the rise of technology plus social media has provided scammers with an effective device to swindle individuals. The use of celebrity endorsement adds credibility to the scams even though these public figures might have nothing to do with the schemes.

The Royal Thai Police and the Justice Ministry’s DSI have the effect of suppressing this type of crime while authorities like the Interior Ministry and the Finance Ministry play a role in raising public awareness, he said.

Nevertheless , authorities have to be proactive in tackling scams and they should take actions before harm is done, such as inviting suspected scammers in for a chat when they spot scams, or even examining their taxes records, he additional.

Based on Mr Piyasiri, Ponzi schemes cause over financial damage to sufferers and in many cases families plus communities collapse; many people are driven to commit suicide.

“The most significant thing is that officials must make use of technology to reach victims and make sure their issues are looked into promptly. It is necessary to recover the stolen assets whenever possible, ” he stated.

He suggested that the decree on loans pounds amounting to public fraud should be enhanced to help authorities keep up with the scams.

Anyone can fall victim

Central Analysis Bureau (CIB) commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, stated Ponzi schemes thrive because they promise high returns and attract investors with hopes of earning money quick.

They use an image of “new millionaires” to trick people and show how they can change their life by making a small purchase. People, regardless of their own backgrounds, tend to fall for such opportunities, he said.

Citing findings through forex trading scams, regarding 63. 3% associated with victims have at least a bachelor’s degree, about 61. 7% are office workers and 42. 8% earn between 15, 000-30, 000 baht a month.

The particular figures suggest that many victims are well-educated and have job protection, so unless individuals are made aware of methods and how to spot all of them they can still fall for scams, he stated.

According to the CIB chief, individuals running the ripoffs design their assets to keep up with people’s changing lifestyles and new technologies plus forex trading is just one example.

Essentially, these business opportunities are certainly not real and obligations will keep coming until the schemes can no longer lure more new investors, he said.

Social media platforms and financial dealings made easy by smart phones contribute to a substantial increase in financial damages, said the CIB chief.

Pol Lt Style Jirabhop said law enforcement have been stepping up promotions to raise awareness regarding scams but the greatest defence is always to be sceptical and carry out due diligence before making an investment.

“Be sceptical even though they are friends or shut relatives. It is safe to assume that no business will or can give you more than seems reasonable to expect, inch he said.

Pol Col Siriwat Deepor, mouthpiece commander of the Technologies Crime Suppression Department (TCSD), warned investors against being devices in scams particularly when they get paid for recruiting new users.

In case convicted of convincing people to invest in a fraudulent scheme, they can address 10 years in jail and a fine as much as 1 million baht, he said.

He also urged the public in order to call 191 or even 1599 if they place scams.

Voices of the victims

A middle-aged woman, who dropped victim to a fx trading scam allegedly run by YouTuber Suchata Kongsupajak, said she invested two mil baht in share and luxury products trading via an application.

The girl said she chose to invest  because she was a long-time fans of the YouTuber who also duped her straight into believing that the girl could make hundreds of thousands of baht in a matter of moments.

“I got paid twice after the investment. After i needed the money and asked to pull away, she told me the lady had been cheated by brokers and didn’t want to access the application. However lost contact, ” said the victim.

One more victim who lost several hundred thousand baht to the rip-off said he dropped for the scheme due to the use of celebrity certification.

Nevertheless , he found out afterwards that those celebrities got nothing to do with the particular fraud.

Paisal Ruangrit, an attorney who took a team of 30 people to document a complaint against the YouTuber, said this individual was attracted to this particular case because the YouTuber used her fame as a social media changer to deceive individuals.

He said about 6, 000 people fell prey to the system with estimated damages of two billion baht, and some of those victims have experienced mental health problems because of this.

Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, head from the Crime Victims Assistance Club, said a few Ponzi schemes focusing on small-time investors aren’t reported because sufferers lose small amounts and so they do not think it is worth their time.

However , this is a loophole that con artists exploit and go on to swindle other people, he said.

More importantly, even when these fraudsters are usually arrested, the analysis takes time that allows them to move the funds and ensure it is almost impossible to recover the particular victims’ money.

In some cases, the defendants may serve only a third of their 20-year sentence, he or she added.

Mr Atchariya said his club is usually working on a Ponzi scheme involving beauty products and a problem has been lodged with police.

The scheme screams fraud: an investment of 6, 000 baht and a return of 15 million baht in three months.

“If all of us fail to tackle scams, I can tell you the economic climate will collapse. Hundreds of billions of baht are estimated to be circulating and that money will be moved overseas. Committing suicide and crime may rise, ” this individual said.