Lawmakers seek probe on fraudulent BDO transactions

Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2021 01:12 PM | Updated as of Dec 13 2021 05:18 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Lawmakers are seeking a probe into the fraudulent transactions that victimized account holders of BDO, after hundreds of complaints were posted online regarding unauthorized withdrawals. 

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate said he wants Congress to investigate the issue, and for BDO to swiftly compensate affected account holders. 

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda also wants a probe 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 also filed another resolution seeking hearings “on the capacity of law enforcement agencies to apprehend, detect, investigate, and prosecute financial cybercrimes.”

In a forum, Zarate acknowledged BDO’s effort to calm its depositors and the public. However, he said BDO’s public assurances fall short of what must be done. 

"I think it is not enough that there is an assurance specifically from the banking industry or BDO at ibalik at reimburse ang nawalan ng pera, with a caveat pa pag napatunayan na walang kasalanan ang depositors. Padadaanan pa sa butas ng karayom, eh malinaw ang system nila ang na-compromise," the lawmaker said.

(I think it is not enough that there is an assurance specifically from the banking industry or BDO to reimburse the money, with a caveat that depositors have to prove they have done nothing wrong. Depositors would be asked to go through the eye of the needle, even if it's clear that its their system that was compromised)

All victims should be compensated swiftly, Zarate said. 

Zarate is also pushing regulators, such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, to crack down on lenders that fail to protect the hard-earned money of their depositors and clients. 

Salceda meanwhile said banks need to ensure that their clients are protected.

“Without adequate protections from banks for their retail users, ordinary citizens are compelled to use digital payment solutions due to mobility restrictions and convenience even when they are not certain about the security of their hard-earned savings.” Salceda said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier said it coordinating with banks following the complaints over the weekend. 

The National Privacy Commission said it would also investigate whether or not a data breach also occurred.

BDO has yet to issue a new statement on the matter. 

Below is BDO's first official statement released on Dec. 12:

We are aware of a sophisticated fraud technique that has affected some of our clients. We assure you that we have already implemented additional security controls to block further attempts and continue to protect bank credentials.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Cybersecurity is a focal point of the banking sector. We at BDO are continuously investing and working towards improving our security infrastructure to protect our clients’ money. While we have put back-end measures in place, we appreciate our clients’ continued vigilance to combat fraud.

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