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Bill protecting consumers from skimming, phishing filed in Senate

A bill seeking to provide protection to consumers against cybercrimes, particularly, skimming and phishing was filed in the Senate.

Senator Grace Poe has filed Senate Bill 2380 or the Bank Account, E-wallet, and Other Financial Accounts Regulation Act, which seeks to protect online transactions especially now that most of banking activities have shifted online.

“Digital platforms made it possible to keep our economy going, but it has also become an opportunity for crime to thrive. That is why we must put up the proper safeguards that will not only avoid criminal activity but also unlock the potential of digital platforms as well,” said Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies.

The said measure seeks to promote and maintain a stable and efficient financial system and recognizes the need to protect the public from cybercriminals and syndicates who target bank accounts and e-wallets.

Under SB 2380, agencies such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Justice, Department of Information and Communications Technology, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police will formulate an “Anti-Scam/Financial Fraud Roadmap.”

This will educate and inform consumers on financial scams and their prevention, and swifter enforcement and prosecution of financial cybercrime cases.

The measure will likewise require banks, non-bank financial institutions, and other pertinent institutions not only to respond to cybercrime reports with more urgency, but also strengthen their online platforms, payment systems, and data security.

“This measure seeks to ensure that the hard-earned money of the public is kept safe and that public trust and confidence in our current financial system are maintained as it continues to innovate and traverse through cyberspace,” Poe said.

The senator cited BSP data which showed that 98.4% of reported crimes and losses filed by banks from March 15 to May 18, 2020 alone were online in nature. It amounted to a total loss of P60.6 million.

She also noted the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group report which showed a sharp increase of 37% in online scams from March to September 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. —Hana Bordey/KG, GMA News