With Bank of the Philippine Islands’ electronic banking channels – including automated teller machines, mobile and web-based platforms deliberately placed on offline mode to address an “internal data error” on Wednesday, here are some key takeaways from a press chat with BPI senior vice president Cathy Santamaria on affected clients:
– For those clients whose accounts had been unduly debited, BPI will make sure the paper loss will be reversed and automatically be fixed.
– For those who have seen more money credited to their accounts than what’s due them, don’t touch the money because the excess will automatically be taken out or charged against these accounts.
– If you really don’t need your money, don’t panic. There’s no need to withdraw as the money is there. BPI assured no one will lose money from this activity.
– Don’t post any personal information or account information as the information may be used by unscrupulous parties who may take advantage of this incident to source sensitive information from BPI account holders.
– Be vigilant. BPI does not ask for any information online so don’t give any information online for your own personal safety.
– Check issuances will have to be processed one-on-one within the branch.
– For those who feel there’s something wrong with their account, all of BPI’s over 800 branches are open and anyone who needs to withdraw can go to the nearest branch. Make sure that as you transact, get only the money that’s yours.
Santamaria assured that the issue had now been “contained” and stressed that only a “small portion” of BPI’s client base had been affected. Clients who have had transactions in their BPI and BPI Family peso or foreign currency deposit account units (FCDU) between April 27 to May 2 were most likely the ones affected.
However, she said this issue may have been “blown out of proportion” in social media.
“We are also asking you to be patient. We will solve it within the day. There are some clients whose accounts have already been corrected. Some clients’ accounts are still being processed. At the end of the day, the balance will be the same,” she said.
Not hacking, no scam
“There’s a lot of rumor about it being a hacking or scam. Let me emphasize that it has nothing to do with that. We at BPI have the highest security standards and we make sure that all our processes are of the highest level.”
Asked what was behind the error if it’s not hacking, Santamaria hinted of some human error involved.
“Every day we actually do batch processing. Somewhere in that process – this morning or midnight – there was an error. Someone must have touched something. We’ve been in the business for over 166 years and we’re saying that because we have the highest standards, we have strict protocols. It was really an error,” Santamaria said.
This is not hacking because there was no external party involved, she said.
“When you say it’s a hack or a scam, you can trace that because we have high security standards, we can trace immediately. And as we speak, we know,” Santamaria said, adding there wasn’t any breach of security firewalls. “I can smile, tell you straight into your eyes, look straight into your eyes and say honestly, there’s none.”