Sunday, April 21, 2024

Senate bill imposes prison term, P5-M fine for e-wallet thieves

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has filed a bill imposing a jail term and fine amounting to as much as P5 million against cyber criminals who target virtual or electronic wallets and similar platforms used for digital financial services.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (Photo from Senate)

Senate Bill No. 2171, or the proposed Bank Accounts, Electronic Wallets, and Other Financial Accounts Regulation Act, is aimed at equipping government agencies and financial regulators to address cybercrime schemes and provide financial consumers with efficient means to resolve their complaints.

Kung may kakayahan ang mga kinauukulan na matunton ang mga nasa likod ng mga hacking o unauthorized transactions, scamming at iba pang modus gamit ang internet o sa pamamagitan ng mobile banking, dapat may kaukulang parusa na pagkakakulong at mabigat na multa na kakaharapin sila,” Estrada said.

“At kung ayaw natin na mawalan ng kumpiyansya ang publiko sa mga digital transactions, dapat may kasiguraduhan na maibabalik ang mga perang pinaghirapan nila na nawalang parang bula,” the senator stressed.

Due to the damaging effect on the economy, the lawmaker is seeking to declare in his bill the commission of large-scale offenses or the use of a mass mailer as a form of economic sabotage and a heinous crime, punishable with life imprisonment and a fine ranging from P1 million to P5 million.

An act shall be deemed committed by a syndicate if it was carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring with one another, while those considered as large scale are acts against three or more persons individually or as a group.

In his proposed measure, Estrada likewise seeks to prohibit money mules, social engineering schemes, and acts abetting in the commission of the covered offenses.

Money mule involves transferring illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else through an e-wallet or other financial account, while social engineering schemes include, among others, phishing, tricking users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information.

Those found guilty of money mule will be meted with imprisonment or prision correccional or a fine of P100,000 to P200,000. Those who performed social engineering schemes will be punished with prision mayor or a fine of P200,000 to P500,000, Estrada said.

If the target or victim of the social engineering scheme is a senior citizen at the time the offense was committed or attempted, the maximum penalty shall be imposed, he added.

“There is a need to protect the public from cyber criminals and criminal syndicates who target financial accounts, e-wallets, and other financial accounts or lure account holders into perpetrating fraudulent activities,” Estrada said.

“We need to provide financial consumers with efficient means to resolve their complaints, make it less cumbersome, transparent and allow quicker resolutions that will be more to their advantage,” he added.

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