11 July 2024

About 130 million baht has been mysteriously withdrawn from 10,700 bank accounts through credit and debit card payments between October 14th and 17th, according to President of the Thai Bankers Association (TBA) Payong Srivanich, today (Tuesday).

The mysterious withdrawals, mostly payments for goods or services with stores registered in foreign countries, have become the subject of an intense investigation by the Bank of Thailand, the TBA, the police and Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.

Mr. Payong said that the cyber criminals used information from the credit or debit cards to place multiple orders in small amounts, which do not require the use of a one-time password (OTP) to complete, adding that that banks will refund the affected customers within five days, if it can be proved that they did not order any goods or services online during the period.

As for credit cards, he said the banks will cancel all the dubious transactions and the customers will not be required to repay their banks for the transactions in question.

Assistant Governor for Payments System Policy and Financial Technology of the Bank of Thailand, Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, said the central bank will increase the monitoring of unusual transactions to cover those of small amounts but with unusually high frequency, adding that the cards will be immediately suspended and customers concerned notified if the unusual activity is detected.

She disclosed that the central bank and the TBA have worked out a set of additional measures to prevent this form of cybercrime.

The measures include:

  • Banks will step up monitoring of frequent, low value transactions and, if something unusual is found, the credit or debit cards concerned will be cancelled immediately and their owners notified.
  • Customers will be notified every time they undertake a transaction via SMS, e-mail or mobile banking system.
  • Debit card customers will be refunded within five days after it is discovered that their accounts have been breached. For credit card holders, the unusual transactions will be cancelled.
  • The central bank and TBA will consult with credit card service providers, such as Visa MasterCard, to require the use of OTPs for transactions with online stores.

Meanwhile, the general public are advised to check their transactions regularly, especially those which involve the use of debit cards on high-risk platforms, such as online gambling or on platforms which do not require an OTP.