Bankers back proposed law vs money muling, phishing
The proliferation of cybercrime, especially with the heightened digitalization of financial transactions amid the pandemic, has made it imperative for Congress to pass the proposed Bank Account and E-Wallet Regulation Act to further protect the financial system, the banking community said.
The proposed legislation under House Bill No. 9615 punishes major offenses, such as money muling, whereby individuals are recruited as conduits for illegally obtained money, and phishing, or sending fraudulent messages to induce one to share personal info such as his or her credit card details. These crimes would be treated as economic sabotage.
“There has been a rise in the number of cybercrimes perpetrated against the banking public, thus there is a need to ensure that criminals are held accountable for what they have done. The Bank Account and E-Wallet Regulation Act expands our government’s tools in fighting against cybercriminals by punishing the usage of financial accounts for criminal activities,” Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) president Jose Arnulfo Veloso said in a press statement on Wednesday.
The proposed law prescribes punishing the guilty with prison mayor, or six years and one day to 12 years in prison, or a fine between P200,000 and P500,000.
Persons who are found aiding a money mule or attempting to commit major offenses under the bill will be punished with jail time of at least six months and one day to as long as six years, or a fine between P100,000 and P200,000.
The BAP also reiterated it was open to working with Congress on their proposed amendments to the bill.
The House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries recently held a hearing on the proposed legislation. Quirino Representative Junie Cua, who is the committee’s chair, sponsored the bill.
“We welcome opportunities to provide inputs to our legislators as to how we can further strengthen this bill. The BAP is willing to work with the necessary stakeholders to ensure the safety of every Filipino who conducts financial transactions online,” Veloso said.