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Bayan Muna lawmakers, Salceda want probe into alleged online banking fraud

Some House lawmakers on Monday sought an investigation into the reported unauthorized bank transactions involving certain BDO Unibank Inc. accounts.

In filing House Resolution 2405, Bayan Muna Representatives Ferdinand Gaite, Eufemia Cullamat, and Carlos Zarate urged the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries to investigate, in aid of legislation, the reported fraudulent bank transactions.

"More than the admission of the occurrence of security breach or fraud and pursuing reactive measures, the members of the banking industry, as well as the BSP, should put in place more protective measures and policies to protect the interest of the public and the integrity of the banking transactions," the lawmakers said.

"Moreover, in the immediate, there is a need for speedy reimbursements of the affected consumers of their lost hard-earned money," they added.

Albay Representative Joey Salceda is also calling for a congressional inquiry into the alleged hacking of bank accounts.

He filed House Resolution 2406 calling the House committees on public order and safety and public accounts "to conduct hearings, in aid of legislation, on the capacity of law enforcement agencies to apprehend, detect, investigate, and prosecute financial cybercrimes.”

Further, Salceda also lodged House Resolution 2407 urging the committee on banks and financial intermediaries "to conduct hearings, in aid of legislation, on the safety and security measures and user protection mechanisms being undertaken by banks and electronic payment solutions providers to protect their customers from being defrauded.”

Salceda said the public has now opted to use digital payment transactions due to mobility restrictions and convenience even "without adequate protection from banks for their retail users."

He pointed out that law enforcement agencies do not have specific anti-financial crime units that are otherwise typical in other countries.

"Financial crimes similar to the reports could be prosecuted under the aforementioned provision of Republic Act No. 10175 if law enforcement agencies have the capacity to apprehend, detect, and investigate financial cybercrimes,” Salceda said.

Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, penalizes Computer-related Fraud or the unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data or program or interference in the functioning of a computer system, causing damage thereby with fraudulent intent.

There have been reports over the weekend that a number of BDO clients fell victim to fraudulent schemes, with the firm saying it will reimburse losses of the affected clients.

The BSP is already looking into the issue of data breach involving certain BDO accounts. It is also coordinating with its stakeholders for the reimbursement of the reported unauthorized bank transfers.

The BSP vowed to exhaust all means to ensure security of online bank transactions.

The BDO, meanwhile, has called on its customers to change their passwords to protect their accounts, especially at this period wherein many employees have been receiving their bonuses amid the holiday season.—AOL, GMA News