Re-electionist senator Sherwin Gatchalian called for an in-depth probe on the proliferation of unauthorized bank transactions and the onslaught of spam text messages offering non-existent jobs to unsuspecting mobile users.
“There is a need for a more comprehensive investigation on these issues to enable us to come up with remedial legislation that will address the public’s concern over breach of their personal data and ascertain if banks, business establishments, and concerned regulatory agencies are implementing adequate security measures and controls as well as enforcing consumer redress mechanisms,” Gatchalian said.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 961, Gatchalian sought to direct the appropriate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, with the end goal of strengthening the legal framework to enhance the enforcement of Data Privacy Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act, New Central Bank Act, and other related laws.
“We have to ensure that the concerned agencies have ample powers to secure the protection of personal information and monies of the general public and if possible, prevent similar incidents from happening. There should be a law against local and global organized syndicates scamming ordinary Filipinos, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the unemployed, and vulnerable,” he said.
Prior to the incident involving the hacking of bank accounts of BDO depositors, a number of individuals claimed to have been victimized by scammers who sent spam text messages offering nonexistent online jobs, gifts, prizes, discounted items or pretending to represent reputable companies. They would later on lure their would-be victims into revealing their personal information or one-time password (OTP).
In the recent wave of complaints on social media on the hacking of BDO accounts, the victims claimed they neither clicked any suspicious link nor unsuspectingly gave their OTP and yet cyber criminals were able to access their accounts and transferred the money to a UnionBank account of a certain “Mark Nagoyo.”
“These incidents of bank hacking clearly show that the security breaches were not due to the account holder’s negligence,” Gatchalian said.
While the concerned banks already started reimbursing the claims of the innocent clients, Gatchalian said the surge in the cases of fraudulent electronic payments and online banking transactions put into question the sufficiency of protection mechanisms against personal information or identity theft, cybersecurity attacks, and other similar cybercrimes.
“Dapat matigil na o maiwasan na maulit ang mga ganitong pangyayari. Mababawasan ang kumpiyansa ng publiko sa mga bangko kung magpapatuloy ito. Nakakabahala rin na nae-expose ang mga mobile phone numbers sa mga organisadong global syndicates na may pakana diumano ng mga spam text messages,” he said.