The country’s biggest banks have alerted their clients on various online banking scams that take advantage of the surge in digital transactions during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
BDO Unibank Inc. (BDO) has advised its clients to be cautious of account-renting scams, in which scammers offer to borrow or rent bank accounts in exchange for a fee or commission. Account holders are being recruited to be a “money mule.”
“Scammers use false reasons to receive ‘dirty’ money fro illegal activities, claiming these are charitable donations, OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances, or payments to their online shop. Unfortunately for victims this is illegal under the Anti-Money Laundering Act,” it said.
The Sy-led bank also said its clients should not accept offers to make money from using their account to receive or send money.
It also informed its clients against scammers who use SIM cards to deceive and steal their victims’ money. One modus is called “SIM Swapping,” where scammers disguise as telco agents offering upgraded network connection in exchange for SIM cards.
More prevalent is the “SIM Upgrade” modus, in which scammers purchase 4G SIM cards, register their victims’ mobile number and fool them into giving the one-time PIN (OTP) needed to own the mobile number, the lender said.
“In both modus operandi, scammers takeover their victims’ mobile number to control their victims’ online bank accounts,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Land Bank of the Philippines notified its clients of the growing emergence of fake websites and number of phishing attacks amid the pandemic.
“Phishing is a cyberattack disguised as an email or text that deceives users into giving fraudsters critical information such as bank account numbers or passwords,” it explained.
To outsmart account hackers, Philippine National Bank reminded its clients to secure their password; monitor their accounts regularly and look out for suspicious activity; use only devices and networks they trust; keep their account confidential; and contact the bank immediately if they have account concerns.
Security Bank Corp. said it was continuously sending clients emails and text messages to help them stay vigilant against the rising number of phishing attacks and scams due to the increase of online banking transactions.
“Our Facebook page and our website’s blog section have tips on how our clients can remain safe from these security threats. We encourage our customers to protect their devices and data, and to report any suspicious emails or website links to email@example.com,” it added.
Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently stressed its various efforts to ensure its digital ecosystem is secure.
According to Joey Rufo, UnionBank vice president and chief information security officer, these include continuous investments in the latest data security technologies, 24/7 interception and monitoring of attacks through its Integrated Operations Center, regular security tests, and awareness campaigns via communication channels on how customers can protect themselves.
RCBC Bankard said client must beware of phishing emails or text messages that pretend to provide information regarding to Covid-19 pandemic, but attempt to get their personal and/or card information.
“While these may seem legitimate, and may even contain statements/advice from public officials or valid sources on how to protect yourself from Covid-19, these email/SMS may be loaded with hidden spyware. Please do not respond [to them],” it added.
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