Thais got 17 million scam calls in 2022, 45% phone numbers leaked


THE total number of scam calls made to Thais last year jumped by 165% to 17 million while over 45% of phone numbers in this country, or 13.5 million, had been leaked, according to Gogolook, the Taiwan-based developer of caller identification app Whoscall, Naewna newspaper said today (Mar. 31).

In its annual report Gogolook said the jump in the use of online services during the Covid-19 pandemic likewise led to fraud accelerating over the past two years without any sign of slowing down.

Altogether 405.4 million scam calls and messages were made and sent to global users in 2022. Although this is a drop of 13% compared to the previous year, fraud remains a significant issue.

Scammers prioritise text messages for high penetration rates and low costs, so messages account for 76% of “first contacts” in fraud cases, a new record. At the local level, text messages amount to 95% of fraud cases in Japan, and over 80% in Taiwan, South Korea, and Malaysia. It shows high consistency among scammers worldwide.

Gogolook CEO Manwoo Joo said scamming threat is spurring the anti-fraud prevention industry with Fortune Business Insight estimating that this industry will reach $129.2 billion by 2029 at a compound annual growth rate of 22.8%, driven by Generative AI and vulnerabilities arising from enterprise digital transformation.

Ms. Thitinan Sutthisaraphan, Gogolook’s marketing director for Southeast Asia, warned that scammers are widespread and stressed the need for effective anti-fraud measures.

Gogolock’s data shows that seven out 10 messages received by Thais are spam or scam, totalling 73%.

Scam calls in Thailand jumped by 165% from 2021’s total of 6.4 million to reach 17 million in 2022.

Similar to other countries, scammers in Thailand use SMS messages as a tool of “first contact” by tricking victims into clicking on phishing links to steal personal information. They are also fooled into adding a LINE account which tricks them to send information or transfer money to the scammers.

Scam messages frequently offer loans by citing a government agency or a bank or offer direct access to illegal online gambling. They often lure victims by saying  “Get the right to apply for a loan”, “Free credit”, and  “You are the lucky one”.


Above and Front Page: Representative images of call centre scammers. Credit: Thai Rath

Also read: Pegasus phone spyware used to target 30 Thai activists, cyber watchdogs say

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