Probe bank glitch, NBI asked

A consumer group is asking the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the massive glitch that was reported at the start of 2023 by depositors of a leading bank, resulting in wrong online bank statements, preventing the bank’s clients from performing account transactions.

The call for NBI action was made by ACTION (Action for Consumerism and the Transparency in Nation Building) Secretary General Jake Silo.

“Glitches should never be shrugged off anymore as unrelated incidents. These are red flags which necessitates a deeper investigation not just by the bank, but by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the NBI. The widespread glitch reported a few days ago by the clients of this bank should be taken seriously as this may be an attempt by syndicates to hack into the accounts of depositors,” he said.

Silo also recommended that the NBI and BSP come up with an information campaign to educate the public against bank fraud.

He said one of the best ways to prevent this crime from happening is by having the government inform the public so that people, particularly bank depositors could protect themselves.

The group said the lack of public awareness coupled with misinformed use of social media has placed many bank depositors at further risk of being targeted by online criminals.

Instead of telling the NBI or their bank about fraud, many depositors choose to rant about it on social media, Silo said.

Some would even post their passbook and ATM accounts and other bank details, making them susceptible to fraud and even identify theft.

Many Filipinos victimized
Many Filipinos have reported being victimized by cybercriminals over the past few years.

BSP data show that from 2019 to 2021, authorities received complaints involving a total of P2 billion worth of financial transactions mostly through scams as well as hacking and phising incidents.

In addition, the BSP received 42,456 complaints from consumers who were victims of financial fraud in 2020 and 2021, when Filipinos were just becoming acquainted with the concept of online banking and digital payments.

ACTION commended the NBI for working with Philippine banks and the BSP, allowing the holiday season to pass without any major incident of bank fraud taking place.

The group said it was relieved that the NBI heeded its call to be extra vigilant during the Christmas season as it is particularly during this time that criminal syndicates tend to prey on Filipinos’ hard-earned money, especially once the remittances of OFWs and workers’ 13th month pays are deposited in their bank accounts.

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