By Ditas Lopez
Bank of the Philippine Islands has flagged rising cases of criminals using another person’s bank account to launder money.
“Money mules,” or depositors who facilitate the transfer of illegal funds in behalf of someone else, have increased in the last two years amid a rapid shift to digital transactions, BPI said in a statement on Wednesday. East West Banking Corp. earlier issued a similar advisory.
Criminals advertise on social media, seeking persons with existing accounts or asking them to open digital financial accounts for use in money laundering. “Some accounts are being sold for thousands of pesos for usage,” BPI chief digital officer Noel Santiago said, adding their stories and delivery are “so compelling and attractive.”
The surge in digital transactions has also resulted in rising credit card fraud, an industry group said earlier. Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno on Monday asked senators to pass a bill protecting financial consumers as cybercrime has increased markedly during the pandemic.
“When someone offers to pay you a commission to simply transfer or deposit money into your bank account, you could be unwittingly acting as a money mule,” East West Bank said, warning clients that they can get up to 7 years of jail time and a fine of up to P3 million ($58,250).
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