This is an original report by True Crime Thailand and a trusted reader.
The goal of publishing this report is to prevent others from getting scammed in Thailand.
A prolific scammer has been operating in Thailand for the past two years. He does his dirty work online: buy & sell and market place Facebook groups, Telegram, along with the Baht & Sold website.
He doesn’t limit himself to one area, he’s scammed people from Chiang Mai to Rayong, from Isaan to Koh Samui.
He works by advertising electronics like recent models of Apple iPhones, Samsung phones, Macbooks, Playstations, and other highly desired products. He puts them up for sale at a fraction of their usual second hand value.
The scammer gives some reason for the cheap price of the advertised goods: “won it in a golf tournament” or “wife can’t get along with it.”
The scammer asks for payment to be transferred to his bank account. But, of course, he never delivers the goods.
After the sale, he typically blocks the buyer.
The scammer never posts a phone number and the sale is always advertised as “PM for details only.”
When people PM and ask what area he is in and a phone number, or if they can go pay cash on collection, the scammer becomes abusive and rude and promptly blocks you.
The real identity of the scammer is unknown. But he is known to operate with well over 100 different aliases and fake Facebook accounts.
His crimes are prolific and he’s racked up countless victims across Thailand expat Facebook groups.
It’s a true game of cat-and-mouse between Facebook group admins and the scammer. The admins may block one account, but he is promptly back in re-joining using a different profile and alias. This is why at this point blocking a known profile he is using is not an effective long-term strategy in stopping him.
Victims across the country from every region have made police reports and official complaints. But so far he has evaded authorities.
We have reason to believe, but cannot confirm, that the scammer may be British. This is after reading lots of his messages to his victims as well as reports of victims hearing his voice when they have received voice messages on Messenger.
Important things to note
The scammer hijacks other people’s names and photos. Thus, if we publish any screenshots of the scammer’s messages, the name and photo is not real but an assumed identity — it is not the scammer’s real name.
There was one incident where an innocent man was shocked to come across his name and photo being used advertising a product in a buy & sell group. He was quick to act by posting a warning to the group that he was not selling an iPhone, and the advertisement was a scam.
We need to be very careful not to create victims out of innocent people because the real profile owner has their account details, name, and photo copied and used by the scammer.
How do we catch the scammer?
Some may think that the police should be able to find the scammer by tracking what bank account the victim sent money to.
On one hand, yes, we understand that. But on the other hand, the accounts change all the time and it is very possible that the scammer manages to open or use accounts under other people’s names. We have good reason to believe this is the case from reports from victims who have gone the police route and bank accounts were traced.
Unfortunately, different police reports scattered across the country are not currently joined together in a centralized system or investigation — or so it seems in this case.
That may change, but in the mean time, the scammer still operates with impunity.
How do you stay safe and spot the scammer?
- The products sold are always electronic goods: phones, laptops, game consoles.
- The price of the advertised goods is always undervalued versus the average second hand price for the item. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
- As shown in the photo below, the scammer always closes off comments sections on his posts so other commenters can’t warn each other. This is a huge red flag: comments closed on post.
- The scammer always insists on communication through PM.
- The scammer insists on a bank transfer. If a seller does not want to do cash on delivery, it is a major red flag that it is a scam post.
How admins and the public can help stop this scammer?
If you see an item which seems suspiciously like the scammer with the comments sections closed off click on the “report to admin” button straight away.
If you send a PM message to the seller asking questions and get a load of verbal abuse back please screen shot the messages and find the group admin and send to them so they can delete and block the particular profile in which he managed to sneak into the group with.
Admins in groups across Thailand can help play their role.
- Respond faster to reported posts
- Don’t allow comment sections to be closed on items for sale
- Check in a little more carefully about people joining the groups
- Using the Facebook group admin feature of “new member items require approval by an admin” before listing
At this point, the most effective way to stop this scam is to cut off the scammer’s ability to find an audience and advertise his scams. Basically, strangle his options online.
A final note.
If anybody knows this scammer or has been a victim of this scammer, please contact True Crime Thailand. The most direct way is by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. But you can contact us on Facebook page, Twitter, etc.
W can follow up with you with more advice on how to stop this notorious scammer. True Crime Thailand has a trusted contact that has been following this scammer and his activities for almost 2 years.
Share this story far and wide with everybody in Thailand as a reminder and advice on how to avoid falling victim to this scam.