What to do if victimized by fraudulent BDO transactions 1

Nagoyo ka rin ba ni Mark? What to do if victimized by fraudulent BDO transactions

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Dec 13 2021 01:43 PM

What’s it like to wake up one morning and find your money gone from your bank account? This nightmare greeted many depositors of BDO over the weekend and judging from a Facebook public group account that they have since created, they now number in thousands.

When it’s an isolated case, banks can easily pass the buck and tell you the fraud likely happened because you disclosed your personal financial information. This could be any of these things: your bank account name or number, your ATM or online banking passcode, or your One Time PIN. These are the key information anyone needs to be able to access an account and make transactions.

But many of the victims claim they were careful not to disclose any of these and yet were still hacked. Most of them also swear they are aware of phishing attacks and do not click links from unknown sources. 

The unauthorized withdrawals were transferred to an account named Mark Nagoyo and the irony of the account name is not lost to the many victims. “Nagoyo” means to be fooled in Filipino.

The incident has raised alarms across the banking community and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has also gotten involved.

In 24 hours, BDO acknowledged the “sophisticated fraud technique” and assured clients that losses will be reimbursed. Part of the statement reads: “Most recently, we have required our online banking users to update their passwords. Changing their password improves account security and prevents fraudsters from accessing their hard-earned money.”

Maybe this will help contain the “sophisticated fraud technique” so as a client of the targeted bank, I immediately did so.

Now let’s examine more closely this part of the statement: “We thank our clients for their patience and cooperation in protecting their online bank accounts. We assure our affected innocent clients that we will reimburse their losses.”

There are two parts here worth picking apart. The first is the mention of patience. This is the virtue one quickly loses when it comes to one’s money. When you discover your money gone, you want to be able to talk to someone, discover what went wrong and get a clear answer on what happens next like now. Sadly, many of the victims are still looking for answers which led them to turn to social media and air their grievances in public. This has happened to me a couple of times – through no fault of mine – and I remember not giving up until I was able to speak to someone with authority who gave me the answers I wanted to hear.

And this brings us to the second part worth noting: the bank qualified who they will reimburse. So before you jump for joy and thank them, pay attention to the insertion of the word “innocent”. The bank is conducting investigations on the losses, and they will only return money to the depositors they will find to be innocent. 

If you are a victim of Mark Nagoyo, here’s what you need to do as soon as possible.

#1 Report the problem formally.

Document your concerns and report the suspicious incidents to ReportPhish@bdo.com.ph immediately. The timestamp of your email is your proof of how soon you reported it and then the ball is on the court of your bank to take action. I would also go a step further and copy consumeraffairs@bsp.gov.ph so that the regulator is already part of the conversation from the start.

BDO provided three more ways to reach them: via Facebook where you can look for BDO Customer Care with a blue verified checkmark; via hotline at 8631-8000; and also via their regular email contact at callcenter@bdo.com.ph.

#2 Change your password.

If you haven’t yet, change your password now. When choosing a new passcode, remember not to: (1) use your name or part thereof; (2) use your house number or birthdate or any dates that can be easily linked to you personally; (3) pick an alphanumeric combination plus use upper case and lower case letters and even special symbols if allowed. The more complex your password, the harder it is for fraudsters to crack it.

#3 Consider moving your funds.

To be fair, all banks are targeted for hacking so the question here is which banks are more vulnerable than others. When I was browsing the Facebook group posts, many of the victims were asking one another for recommendations where to transfer their money. Some of the answers gave me pause because they were recommending banks that also had security breaches. Maybe not on the scale of BDO's but there were still breaches. But for your peace of mind while your stolen money has yet to be recovered, consider moving your funds to another bank and make sure you follow all their security protocols.

#4 Look into owning multiple accounts.

If all your money is parked in one account, that’s a big risk for you in the event the account is hacked. Consider owning a savings account where your salary is credited on a regular basis if you are employed, and have a separate checking account to help you manage funds when you issue check payments. Passbook accounts are inconvenient to own, as they require you to visit the bank branch to make transactions, but in this case, may give you more comfort than a digital account. Place funds in time deposit to earn more if you don’t need them in the short term. As you move around your funds, take note you are also spreading the risks. And you don’t need to choose just one bank for all these accounts.

#5 Press BDO for a deadline.

After you reported the fraud, you need your bank to tell you when they will respond to you and how soon they can return your money when they deem you innocent of fraud. Many of the victims confessed via social media that they use their money for daily needs. How will their bills be paid? How can they celebrate the holidays with family? The sooner your bank gives you the answer, the sooner you can stop holding your breath and exhale in relief.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.