BPI takes down almost 2,000 phishing sites since pandemic hit


Posted at Oct 13 2020 09:33 AM

MANILA - The Bank of the Philippine Islands said Tuesday it has taken down almost 2,000 phishing sites from March to August 2020 or when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

At least 10 phishing sites are being removed daily as fraudsters "repeatedly" launched attacks to lure clients to give out their personal information during the quarantine period, BPI said in a statement.

Phishing is the fraudsters' use of fake email, sms or phone calls, pretending to be bank representatives in order to collect personal information and siphon off the funds from their accounts.

Most of the attacks were conducted by Filipino syndicates taking advantage of the global health crisis, said BPI executive vice president and COO Ramon Jocson.

“They send out malicious emails with COVID-19 themes to steal information and put up fake crowd-funding pages for supposedly PPE donations. A lot of the crimes being committed involve Filipinos targeting fellow Filipinos — getting their credentials, posing as clients of the banks, and then doing unauthorized withdrawals," Jocson said. 

Due to the rising number of cybercrimes, Jocson said the demand for security and building client trust also intensified. He said the culture of cybersecurity was a shared responsibility of both the bank and the client.

BPI said it has set up security operation centers globally to detect potential threats as a precautionary measure. 

“As we do this, remember that security starts and ends with us. It’s about guarding our credentials," Jocson said.