Depositors lost P400 million to ATM fraud: solon

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Bank depositors have lost nearly P400 million as a result of 2,872 cases of automated machine teller (ATM) fraud — mainly card-skimming — from 2012 to 2013, according to Pasig City representative Roman Romulo.

Photo credit: www.baliexpat.com
Photo credit: www.baliexpat.com

Citing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) figures, Romulo said that in 2013 alone, some P220 million in deposits were looted on account of the proliferation of illegal personal identification number (PIN)-capturing devices on ATMs.

The amount was P45 million, or 26 percent, higher than the P175 million in deposits ripped off in 2012 due to the covert copying of information from the magnetic strip of an ATM card, according to Romulo.

?These losses do not include the sum lost by cardholders due to conventional ATM robberies or holdups at gunpoint,? he pointed out.

Romulo is author of House Bill 5036 — the proposed ATM Theft Insurance Act — which seeks to require all banks to extend financial protection to their cardholders against losses due to fraud or robbery.

“Banks are duty-bound to safeguard customers and their deposits against all forms of attacks at all times,? Romulo stressed.

Card-skimming refers to the illegal capture of a cardholder?s PIN, mainly via a ?skimming plate? sneakily installed by scammers on an ATM.

Crooks then create a false or ?cloned? card that enables them to withdraw or run up charges to the victim?s account.

Skimming is also a way for ?identity thieves? to steal a cardholder?s personal and account details, thus allowing them to borrow money or take out loans in the victim?s name.

Meanwhile, Romulo has credited the Philippine National Bank (PNB) for its ATMSafe, which provides ample insurance protection and benefits to cardholders.

?We consider PNB?s ATMSafe as a ground-breaking, cardholder-friendly initiative,? said Romulo.

ATMSafe pays up to P50,000, or the card?s daily withdrawal limit, whichever is less, to replace cash stolen during an ATM robbery, or when the insured loses cash due to the tampering or mechanical malfunction of an ATM.

In the event of death as a result of an ATM mugging, the cardholder?s beneficiary shall receive a P112,500-benefit payment.

Should the cardholder be hospitalized because of an ATM assault, the insured shall additionally be entitled to P2,250 in daily benefit payments for up to 30 days.

ATMSafe also pays up to P11,250 to enable the cardholder to replace documents such as government-issued ID cards lost during an ATM stickup.

It likewise pays up to P112,500 for a specialist to assist the insured in correcting the false or fraudulent use of his or her identity following the loss or theft of an ATM card.

Moreover, ATMSafe provides emergency phone assistance, medical and legal referrals and coordination of emergency fund transfer.

The insurance protection covers losses anywhere in the country and overseas where PNB?s ATM card is accepted.

ATMSafe is available for only P12 per month through PNB General Insurance Co. Inc.

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