Card skimming, hacking soon acts of economic sabotage

The chairman of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries on Tuesday filed a bill declaring as economic sabotage the skimming of automated teller machine cards, hacking a bank system, and unauthorized access to online bank applications and other fraudulent activities.

PDP-Laban Rep. Ben P. Evardone of Eastern Samar, chairman of the panel, said House Bill 5934 declares as a crime of economic sabotage the skimming of at least 50 ATM cards, the hacking of a bank system, or unauthorized access to at least 50 bank applications and accounts, regardless of clients’ monetary loss, and penalizing these with life imprisonment plus a fine ranging from P1 million to P5 million.

The measure said aliens, nonresident Filipinos or Filipino offenders who have the capacity to abscond or had attempted to abscond shall not be allowed to post bail.

The bill defines skimming as “a type of fraud which occurs when an ATM is compromised by a skimming device, a card reader which can be disguised to look like a part of the machine and which saves the users’ card number and pin code.”

The measure also defines hacking as the unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server or information and communication system; or any access in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy using a computer or other similar information and communication devices, without the knowledge and consent of the owner of the computer or information of computer viruses and the like, resulting in the corruption, destruction, alteration, theft or loss of electronic data messages or electronic documents.

“With the fast advancement of technology came a new way of stealing one’s money. Criminals and criminal syndicates were able to illegally access the various electronic medium of transactions and they were able to unlawfully appropriate to themselves the hard-earned money of others,” he said.

According to the lawmaker, these acts erode the “trust and confidence on the financial system in general, and on the banking sector in particular.”

Evardone also said the approval of the bill will “avert further adverse losses on the financial sector” and, thus, secure the public’s “trust on the electronic financial and trade sectors”.

“The state acknowledges that the advances in information technology on access devices have been taken advantage of by criminals and criminal syndicates in perpetrating fraudulent activities that ultimately undermine the trust of the public in the banking industry, due to this deleterious effect on the economy,” he added.

Earlier, Evardone asked the Monetary Board and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to shorten the deadline for banks’ compliance on the upgrade to EMV of ATMs cards to December 31, 2017, instead of its original June 30, 2018, to avert skimming and related


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