Know about cybercrime
and how to protect yourself against it


Since the Covid-19 in 2020, the internet has become more essential and a part of people’s lives all around the world. You can search for things you would like to know, shop, make financial transactions, access to entertainment, gain revenue and keep in touch with your friends and family via online channels. However, there are always two sides of a coin. There are bright sides and dark sides for online usage. Cybercrime is the threat that you may encounter. Let’s update to be aware of what those threats are and how to protect yourself against them to stay safe online. 


Are you dating a romance scammer?

ETDA has defined the word “Romance Scam'' as the situation in which a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. Scammers may propose marriage and live their lives with the victims forever, but that will never happen. According to the Anti-Money Laundering Office, there were 332 romance scam criminal cases from June, 2018 - May 31, 2019 with the damage value of over hundred million baht. If you are the one who uses social media as a channel to find a new relationship, romance scam is the thing you need to be cautious about.


The scammers always use the social media platforms as a tool to approach their victims who are single in the hope of finding the love of their lives. To establish a close relationship and gain trust, they will try to endear themselves to the victims by using the illusion of romantic words or promising to give the victims precious gifts. Then, scammers will move on to the next step and make a targeted victim feel a sense of urgency or fear. They may refer to an unexpected legal fee they have to pay for the high-priced gift, or even say that the Customs Department considers that the imported gift is illegal. Inevitably, you will get involved in unlawful action if you don’t lend a helping hand to them. In some cases, they may talk about a medical emergency or a circumstance at home or while traveling abroad that requires immediate financial help. Eventually, they ask you for money. So, please be careful before jumping into a relationship. Sometimes, acting like a detective enables you to see things clearer. 


How can you spot the sign of a romance scammer?  First, check if the person you are chatting with has mutual friends with you or not. If not, try researching the person’s photo and profile using online searches like Google Image to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere. Please always remind yourself not to disclose any personal information to strangers. Also, always remember that nothing is offered for free. And the most important thing, think carefully before transferring money from your account. Love is not all about money and the person who cares for you will not want to trouble you absolutely. 


Don’t let online shopping become a bad dream

Brandbuffet website referred to the study of Wunderman Thompson Thailand “Future Shopper 2021” that Thai people lead the world in online shopping following a behavioral shift during the pandemic as people move towards e-marketplaces. And, this is one of the channels that the criminals can take advantage of. This is confirmed by the Online Complaint Center that from January 2021 until August, 2021, there were 2,221 complaints per month on average relating to online shopping. The complaints have risen dramatically compared to the same period of the previous year, which was 1,718 cases.


The fraud relevant to online shopping comes in different forms, i.e, sellers not sending products after being paid, false advertising and poor quality of products. These have dominated the complaints consumers have made. To avoid those issues, consumers are recommended to check if the sellers and the shops are reliable or not. But how? The easy way to check is by looking at how long the shops have been open and searching for customers' reviews. The way the reviews are written should be natural like what humans write, not a robot. Also, don’t forget to check the price if it is unusually higher or lower than the market price. Last but not least, you should check if they are blacklisted sellers or not. The website available for the checking is Blacklistseller. You can enter the information of the seller - name, bank account or PromptPay account, on the website and the result will show you. This may be a bit time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort.


Malware - the online trap that always hurts you

The other cyber threat is malware. Malware has been a nightmare in the online world for a very long time. It is software designed to interfere with your computer and data. It can be spread via social media that you click intentionally or accidentally. And the next thing you know, it is already in your computer. Malware, then, attacks your computer system and enables a hacker to control your device and access your valuable information such as bank account password, national ID card number, or credit/debit card, causing huge financial loss.


The way that hackers always use to attack your computer is sending malware links to YouTube or pages that gain popularity. Those links will contain messages that lure you to click. It may relate to the trendy news, scandalous clips or programs that arouse your curiosity. Apart from installing the antivirus program on your computer, the easiest thing you can do to prevent and protect yourself from this online trap is that you must “think” before “click”. Please consider whether those links are sent from reliable sources and the language used is correct or not. If you think that it is suspicious, avoid it. Also, please do not download any unknown program or application on your device. This surely helps.


We hope these tips are able to help you stay safe in the virtual world, away from dating and online scammers and malware. And when all else fails, please always remember: better safe than sorry.