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UnionBank identifies 6 ‘persons of interest,’ freezes accounts linked to ‘Mark Nagoyo’ incident

Union Bank of the Philippines said Wednesday it has identified at least six personalities behind the “Mark Nagoyo” hacking incident, wherein funds from unsuspecting BDO Unibank Inc. account holders were stolen and transferred to fictitious bank accounts with UnionBank.

“We’ve already identified persons of interest and we’ve already filed the necessary information with the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation). We will be providing the necessary information to them as well as to the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas),” UnionBank chief technology and operations officer Henry Aguda said at a virtual press briefing.

“It’s just a handful… there’s about six individuals, right now,” he added.

The BSP earlier said it has traced two to four persons behind the “Mark Nagoyo” account with the Union Bank of the Philippines where the funds siphoned from BDO account holders were transferred.

Over the weekend, victims took to social media to report unauthorized withdrawals made from their BDO accounts and transferred to the accounts of a certain "Mark Nagoyo" with Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP).

The funds taken from BDO account holders were reportedly transferred to the fictitious accounts to acquire cryptocurrencies.

“We are collaborating closely with BDO. In fact, we’ve started collaborating even over the weekend and we are pursuing the investigation of the fraudulent activities. We have already frozen the money in the identified accounts in Union Bank,” Aguda said.

“We are coordinating with our counterparts, with BDO on how to proceed with the frozen accounts,” he added.

The BSP has formed a task force to investigate the incident. The task force was given 30 days to come up with a recommendation regarding possible sanctions and penalties.

The central bank earlier said it is looking into the matter and is in close coordination with both BDO and the Union Bank of the Philippines.

“As of one of the receiving banks, Union Bank stands in solidarity with the entire banking industry and relevant government agencies in fighting against the cybercriminals,” Aguda said.

BDO said Tuesday it is now processing the reimbursement of close to 700 clients affected by the recent incidents of unauthorized bank transfers.

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) over the weekend called on the public to be more vigilant against cyberattacks.—AOL, GMA News