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dtac and Telenor Group Study reveal into Thailand’s Top Internet Scams, Guides Users on How to Stay Safe

Study underscores the importance of protecting personal information online
10 March, 2016 – As internet accessibility in Thailand continues to expand throughout the country and seamlessly across technology devices and daily life, so too do internet scams’ inventive ways in infiltrating consumers’ personal information. In an effort to educate people on the most notorious scams, dtac and Telenor Group, today released the results of an Internet Scams study showing that the top three scams in Thailand are the (1) ‘work from home’ fraud,(2) internet auction scams and (3)Facebook password hacking. 
The multi-market survey assessed the impact of scams on internet users aged 18 – 65 in Thailand, India, Singapore and Malaysia and was conducted to provide better understanding of the common methods in which people are “scammed” online. The results additionally glean the best internet scam prevention methods from experienced users, in order for Thai netizens to gain more insight and education on the subject.  And while many net consumers are now aware of e-mail frauds, new scams are born every day and it’s important to assess the landscape of today’s online deceptions.

Online security is extremely relevant in Thailand where all those survey classified themselves as internet users and, on average, said they spend over 10 hours per day on the web - the most amount of time per day than any other surveyed country. 

With more than 40% of surveyed Thais saying they have been victim of an internet scam, and a further 56% know a friend or family member who has been scammed online—concerns over internet scams are valid. Further, for those surveyed who indeed have been subject to an online scam in Thailand, 90% have lost money. Even more disappointing is the average financial loss per person in Thailand was 370,000 THB ($10,400 USD) compared to a lesser multi-market average of 353,781 THB ($9900 USD).

“This survey provides some powerful insight into the online sphere in Thailand. As a leader in Thailand’s telecommunications sector, dtac is dedicated to enhancing internet safety and hopes the findings from this digital consumer study will encourage all Thais to be proactive in educating themselves to stay safe online, so they can enjoy the internet’s opportunities,” says On-Uma Vattanasuk Rerkpattanapipat, Senior Vice President – Head of Communication and Sustainability of Total Access Communication PCL or dtac.

Thailand’s Most Notorious Online Scams
Of all the internet scams, below are the top three most frequently encountered in Thailand amongst scam victims:
1.   ‘Work from home’ fraud – 40%
2.   Internet Auction scams – 26%
3.   Facebook password hacking – 21%

The ‘Work from home’ is a scam whereby users are either fooled into paying someone online to help them start a business, only for nothing to materialize, or users are tricked into completing work on their computer but never receive payment. The next most common scam is related to internet auctions where an online item is purchased, but once the scammer has received payment, they do not send the purchased item. Finally the Facebook password hack is a form of scamming whereby users are sent an e-mail from a hacker posing as a Facebook representative that asks the user to verify their log-in credentials. This then allows the hacker to log into their account and access personal information. A further notable 14% of surveyed Thais admitted to being victims of online dating scams whereby con artists earn trust of their victims to steal personal information or money.

Preventing Online Scams
While online scams are real, they are equally preventable. Less than half of those surveyed in Thailand feel the responsibility to protect people online is with the website itself or with the government.  Over three quarters of Thais surveyed feel it is the individuals own responsibility to ensure they’re safe online and as such knowledge and resources, helplines for victims, are key for reducing scam success.

Of the methods currently available, below are the top five most frequently used in Thailand to help prevent personal risk in online scams:
1.   Do online research about scams
2.   Delete suspicious and untrustworthy emails
3.   Update your anti-malware software
4.   Ignore advertisements and offers that appear ‘too good to be true’
5.   Share knowledge and preventive ideas with friends and family through social media

“Thailand and Asia are dynamic regions with growing online populations. Alongside Telenor’s Internet for All strategy and the 2017 goal of achieving 200 million active internet users, there will be many more people online in the near future.  With so many new users, we are committed to the safety of our internet users. We encourage our netizens to be aware of potential threats and to openly talk with friends and family about online welfare. In the digital world we mustn’t forget our real world principles, such as, ‘if something looks too good, it probably is’,” added Ola Jo Tandre, Head of Social Responsibility at Telenor Group.