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Be vigilant in protecting online accounts, BPI urges clients

/ 05:16 AM June 18, 2020

Beware of strangers claiming to represent telecommunication companies and asking to take your SIM card in exchange for a 5G upgrade. They are most likely scammers plotting to steal your bank credentials and hard-earned money.

“Do not entertain. He/she is likely a scammer trying to hijack your phone to gain access to services linked to your mobile number, including security protocols and verification for your bank accounts, money transfers and related transaction,” Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) said in a public service advisory.

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At least one BPI client reported having been victimized by this new SIM swap scam. Someone claiming to be a representative of Globe Telecom summoned her at the lobby of her condominium and said she was qualified to test 5G SIMs. She was asked to surrender her old SIM card in order to “activate” a new one.

The stranger never came back, after which the client was notified that P50,000 had been transferred from her BPI bank account to an account at PayMaya. Since the SIM card was in the scammer’s possession, most of the money transfer orders had been consummated as the SIM card provided access to the one-time pin needed to clear the transfer orders.

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The scammer was able to transfer a total of P100,000 from BPI to the e-wallet, the maximum amount that can be held in a PayMaya wallet. PayMaya, for its part, was able to freeze what was left of the amount, P10,000, and will release this from the holder’s account as soon as a court order is obtained.

From hereon, a BPI spokesperson said the bank would put up a dedicated hotline to report fraudulent fund transfers, similar to an existing hotline for suspected fraud in credit cards.

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TAGS: BPI client, online accounts, scammers, SIM swap
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