Poe files bill against phishing on e-wallets, bank accounts

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Sen. Grace Poe has filed a bill against new cybercrimes such as skimming and phishing that reached an all-time high since most transactions have shifted online during the pandemic.

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The “Bank Account, E-wallet, and Other Financial Accounts Regulation Act” or Senate Bill No. 2380 seeks to promote and maintain a stable and efficient financial system and recognizes the need to protect the public from cybercriminals and syndicates who target bank accounts and e-wallets.

“This measure seeks to ensure that the hard-earned money of the public is kept safe and that public trust and confidence in our current financial system are maintained as it continues to innovate and traverse through cyberspace,” said Poe.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), 98.4 percent of reports on crimes and losses filed by banks from March 15 to May 18, 2020 alone were online in nature and amounted to a total loss of P60.6 million.

On the other hand, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group reported a sharp increase of 37 percent in online scams from March to September 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

“Digital platforms made it possible to keep our economy going, but it has also become an opportunity for crime to thrive. That is why we must put up the proper safeguards that will not only avoid criminal activity but also unlock the potential of digital platforms as well,” said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions, and currencies.

Should the bill be passed, agencies such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Justice, Department of Information and Communications Technology, National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP will formulate an “Anti-Scam/Financial Fraud Roadmap” to educate and inform consumers on financial scams and their prevention, and swifter enforcement and prosecution of financial cybercrime cases.

The bill will also require banks, non-bank financial institutions, and other pertinent institutions not only to respond to cybercrime reports with more urgency, but also strengthen their online platforms, payment systems, and data security.

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