Police ask banks for help in combating illegal call centers

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Bangkok – Tourist Police have asked for cooperation from financial institutions as part of a probe into illegal call centers.

Interim Commander of the Tourist Police, Pol Lt Gen Sakon Thongmunee and Interim Deputy Commander of the Tourist Police Maj Gen Surchet Hakpal have convened a meeting with representatives of financial institutions to discuss ways to prevent and combat illegal call center operations. Police have asked the institutions to aid in the combat effort by reporting suspicious financial activity, ATM usage, and use of Internet Banking and by providing details on accounts when queried. They have also been urged to warn customers of the dangers of call center scams.

Vice President of Siam Commercial Bank, Pongsit Chaichatpornsuk acknowledged efforts by authorities as necessary but said that banks can’t lockdown accounts unless requested to by customers or under a court order. He assured the meeting that other forms of assistance such as inspections of transactions and access to surveillance camera footage would be forthcoming to police.

Police explained that most call centers are directed by a foreign entity and require that proxy bank accounts be opened in the country. When a victim transfers money to the proxy account, a member of the criminal gang will then withdraw the cash and forward it to a foreign account so that it may be laundered by an assets company.