6 June 2024

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is to impose a new measure to protect mobile banking customers from scammers using “ghost” SIM cards and “mule” bank accounts.

Effective tomorrow, the names of mobile banking customers must match those on the SIM card registration to activate mobile banking on the account, according to DES Minister, Prasert Jantararuangtong.

If the names do not match, he said that the mobile bank account owner must contact their mobile phone service provider to change the name on the SIM card registration, so that mobile banking can be activated.

He said that bank customers will be able to use their bank books or ATM cards for financial transactions as usual, even though their mobile banking accounts cannot be used.

According to the DES Ministry, there are about 106 million mobile banking users and, of these, 30 million account names do not match the registered name of the SIM card.

Prasert said that the new measure is expected to deactivate about 100,000 “mule” bank accounts a month, out of an estimated one million such accounts.

He also said that he will discuss tightening up the measure with the commerce minister, as it has been discovered that scammers have now opened “mule” bank accounts for skeleton companies.

Commercial banks have also introduced several measures to prevent mobile banking fraud, such as stricter controls on the opening of new bank accounts and biometrics for money transfers of between 50,000 and 100,000 baht through mobile banking.