BusinessMirror

PHL SEES SU RGE IN FI­NAN­CIAL SCAMS DUR­ING PA NDEMIC

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SUS­PI­CIOUS trans­ac­tions re­ports re­ceived by the Philip­pines’ anti- money laun­der­ing body rose 57 per­cent in Jan­uary to Au­gust from a year ago amid the wide use of dig­i­tal plat­forms dur­ing the pan­demic, Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas Gov­er­nor Ben­jamin Dio­kno said on Fri­day.

About 29 per­cent of the to­tal re­ports oc­curred from mid- March when move­ment re­stric­tions were im­posed to com­bat Covid- 19, Dio­kno said, cit­ing a study con­ducted by the Anti- Money Laun­der­ing Coun­cil, which he heads.

Sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tion re­por ts re­lated to elec­tronic bank­ing trans­ac­tions grew by 1,680 per­cent for in­ward fund trans­fers and 5,158 per­cent for out­ward fund trans­fers, the study showed. Re­ports from elec­tronic money is­suers in­creased by 688 per­cent; and from pawn­shops and money ser­vice busi­nesses by 51 per­cent.

Unau­tho­rized ac­count ac­cess through skim­ming and phish­ing, and other vi­o­la­tions of the Elec­tronic Com­merce Act, with es­ti­mated value of P2.7 bil­lion was among the top 3 rea­sons why the re­ports were filed. The other top rea­sons were on­line sex­ual ex­ploita­tion of chil­dren and re­lated crimes, and sus­pected money mules.

Dio­kno said other red flags in­clude fraud re­lated to so­lic­i­ta­tion of Covid- 19 dona­tions, on­line shop­ping swin­dling in­volv­ing Bit­coin, un­sub­stan­ti­ated de­posits or fund trans­fer for prod­ucts and ser­vices, re­ceipts of large de­posits, and small- value and fast- mov­ing funds to mul­ti­ple ac­count hold­ers with im­me­di­ate cash- outs but with no un­der­ly­ing jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

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