Bangko Sentral probes bank fraud cases

Vivenne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2018 08:43 AM | Updated as of Jan 11 2018 01:21 PM

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MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said it asked banks to provide details of questioned transactions after the industry flagged an increase in fraud cases.

The country's largest lender, BDO Unibank, said this week that there was an "extraordinary rise in fraud attacks towards the entire industry" while Bank of the Philippine Islands raised the alarm over a fake website.

"Kasama rin sa examination ng BSP to see if existing security controls can still be strengthened or improved at kung nare-restitute talaga ng tama yung nabibiktimang kliyente," Bangko Sentral deputy director Melchor Plabasan said on Wednesday.

(The BSP's examination will include how existing security controls can still be strengthened or improved and if the victimized clients get the right restitution.)

Consumers, including overseas Filipino workers, reported alleged unauthorized transactions worth thousands of pesos on social media.

BDO said it was investigating individual transactions for signs of irregularities.

“This challenging task is done to ensure that all cases are addressed accordingly, and that a resolution is served for all valid cases,” the bank said.

Plabasan said the liability for losses due to fraud falls on the institution that failed to comply with the central bank's mandate to shift to the chip-based EMV cards, which are more secure compared to the current ones that use a magnetic stripe.

Fraudsters can steal information from the magnetic stripes of cards and use these to hack into the owner's account in what is called a "skimming" attack.

The BSP said attacks could be rising as the June 30 deadline for banks to switch to the EMV standard neared.

“Pag nagma-migrate tayo (once we migrate), the window of opportunity for the fraudster is narrowing. So they will make all efforts to perpetrate fraud,” Plabasan said.