The Philippine Star
January 27, 2022 | 12:00am
Five persons including two Nigerians have been arrested in connection with the recent hacking of the BDO Unibank, with deposits from about 700 accounts transferred to UnionBank of the Philippines under the account name Mark Nagoyo.
Crooks, however, are undeterred. The latest victims are teachers and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education. The Teacher’s Dignity Coalition says it has filed 24 verified complaints with the DepEd for unauthorized withdrawals from the victims’ payroll accounts with the Land Bank of the Philippines ranging from P900 up to P200,000 per account.
The 24 are among about 50 complaints that the coalition is verifying. Landbank officials initially denied that its system had been hacked, saying the teachers were victims of phishing or smishing – tricked through emails or text messages into providing personal information such as passwords.
These are teachers, however, and they have some knowledge about protecting their bank accounts from online fraud. Some of the victims denied clicking on any attachment or link asking for their personal banking information. Others said they received one-time pins several times, but there were no subsequent messages asking for the OTP and they never provided it. Still, when they checked their accounts, they discovered the unauthorized withdrawals.
One victim said that when he tried to log in, the online banking system rejected his user name and password. So the possibility that the bank network itself has been hacked cannot yet be ruled out. And any bank security breach must be quickly plugged before the scammers claim more victims.
The National Bureau of Investigation has stepped into the probe, and the Landbank must give its full cooperation. At the same time, authorities can take this opportunity to heighten public awareness of online scams. The information campaign can start with the educators, who can then cascade their knowledge to their students and other people.