Woman incurs P200K credit card debt in alleged hacking; BPI, Lazada react

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2019 06:10 PM | Updated as of Jan 12 2019 03:17 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Digital retail giant Lazada on Friday asked its customers to "exercise caution" if they notice any "suspicious" transactions on their cards.

The statement came after a woman took to social media to express her dismay at how a bank handled her concerns after P200,000 worth of items were bought from the popular shopping site using her credit card.

Financial adviser Kristen Camille Martinez said in her now-viral Facebook post that around P204,000 worth of items from Lazada were charged on her credit card issued by Bank of the Philippine Islands "in just one day" without her knowledge last October 2018.

What made it more suspicious, according to Martinez, was that the total amount charged to her card was more than her credit limit of P200,000. She immediately reported the incident to her bank and filed a dispute.

In a reply sent to her on November 10, the bank's Card Fraud Control Team told Martinez that she "may have unknowingly shared the information which led to [her] online account being compromised."

Since she was not satisfied with how the bank responded to her concern, she sent another email to follow up on her concern. However, she did not receive any reply from BPI.

Then on January 4, Martinez received a letter from a law office, reminding her to pay her credit card bill.

"Nakakagulat lng na wala kang nakukuhang sagot sa email tapos bigla kang makakakuha ng letter from law office, so dun na pala natapos yung investigation?" she wrote.

(It's just shocking that while I have not received any response through email, I got a letter from a law office, so that's where the investigation ended?)

Upon calling the bank, she was advised to request for a charge slip retrieval from Lazada, then report the incident to the police. 

Martinez said she has made the request, but that it would take another 35 days before she receives it from Lazada, should they decide to grant her request.

The person on the other line then suggested to her, even after she asserted that she did not make the transactions, that she might want to consider paying the P238,000 in parts. That was the only option offered to her since the bank said it would insist on the payment, she said.

LAZADA, BPI speak

Lazada said it prioritizes and protects the interest of its shoppers with "rigorous systems and processes that meet international standards."

"We have [a] 24-hour, real-time monitoring system to detect suspicious behavior on our platform, and we proactively work with financial institutions to counter fraud," Lazada said in a statement.

"We encourage consumers to exercise caution and notify their banks immediately if they notice any suspicious transactions on the cards or if they suspect their credit card information is compromised," it added.

BPI, for its part, said it has "reached out to the client directly to discuss her concern."

"All bank-related concerns undergo a thorough and careful investigation. We constantly remind our clients to be extra vigilant in protecting their personal information and report any suspicious emails, text, messages, or calls. The Bank will never ask for passwords, or one-time pins (OTPs) via SMS, email, phone call, or social media," BPI said. 

- Rose Carmelle Lacuata, Trishia Billones, and Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News