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 What can we do to avoid falling prey to online fraud?

The Bank of the Lao PDR has issued a warning about an online scam, in which tricksters use the name of a commercial bank to create a fake facebook page. A post then appears stating that a bank loan can be issued in just 30 minutes, but requests a transaction fee. After the victim has transferred the money, all contact ceases. Vientiane Times asked around for people’s thoughts on this despicable practice.
Ms Phim, a government official in Xaythany district, Vientiane: I think scammers are terrible and these days there seem to be many of them, both online and in real life. If you’re not careful, you can easily fall victim to a scam. It’s happened to many people when making a financial transaction, so we should get more information and question the validity of the offer or request to ensure that more people are not cheated in this way. We should all be more careful about everyone, everything, and every step we take in our lives.
Mr Pod Keokhampha, a government official in Chanthabouly district, Vientiane: I think there should be a special unit to deal with online fraud. Nowadays there are a lot of criminals who cheat people in many ways. In these cases, the police should arrest those involved and severely penalise them. Users of social media should not post or share their personal details as this can enable criminals to intervene and cause a lot of harm.
Ms Mee Phoxay, a resident of Luang Prabang province: We all know that modern technology enables us to access information
more quickly and makes day-to-day living easier. But there are
some groups of people who use social media to deceive others for their personal gain. To protect ourselves, we need to carefully read all the details before deciding to act upon any suggestion, and make enquiries if we notice anything strange. If we lose something because of criminal activity we should inform the police.

Ms Noy Sansany, a resident of Vientiane: I have had this kind of experience but fortunately I realised what was going on before any damage was done. I’d like to remind all users of social media who are considering transferring money or doing any kind of financial transaction to check the identity of the payee by calling or video calling them, to ensure they are genuine. It’s important to remember that we can’t trust everything we read on social media. Some of the stuff that’s posted is true but some is not, so we should think carefully before acting upon information to make sure we don’t get cheated.

Ms Naly Mounmixay, a resident of Xaythany district, Vientiane: This is an era of technology but Laos is not as advanced as other countries and there are a lot of people who do not understand the intricacies of technology. Their main aim in life is to get more money, so they can easily be deceived. There are many forms for scamming, cheating and hacking so I don’t trust anyone, including my friends. If I transfer money, I carefully check the details from the bank before I do anything. I don’t want to be scammed, so I’m always careful and ask for more information before deciding to pay any money. And remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update August 23, 2023)

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