Financial sector sets up online platform vs fraud

(The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2020 - 12:00am

Scam Proof

MANILA, Philippines — The rapid shift of Filipinos to online transactions has also resulted in the increase of online scams and fraudulent activities. This accelerated further with the onset of the pandemic as more fraudsters tried to take advantage of the situation.

To create a safer online environment for Filipinos, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) and its thrift arm Philippine Savings Bank joined other banks and companies across industries in the recent launch of Scam Proof, a platform that aims to educate Filipinos about the dangers of financial fraud and how to prevent it.

Scam Proof is a financial education initiative focused on fraud prevention. The first step is the creation of an online resource website that contains information on different scams, schemes, or any other dubious financial traps. It is continuously updated by contributors and investigators from the participating banks and partner agencies.

“As we celebrate International Fraud Awareness Week, we are proud to share with you this industry-wide initiative that aims to rally all Filipinos to band together to fight fraud,” said Metrobank president Fabian Dee. “This launch is just the beginning, we look forward to the participation of everyone, through this platform, we can boost fraud prevention in our country and be ahead of those persistent scammers.”

Users of the site can learn about basic account security measures they can apply to their bank accounts, which can help protect their confidential banking information from scammers. There are also case samples and walkthroughs of how some scams work and what red flags to watch out for.

Users can also post their knowledge or experiences about the latest scams. All they have to do is click on the “Share a Scam Case” button, provide a short description of their encounter (along with screenshots if available), then hit submit. Scam Proof’s administrators will then review the submission for vetting and possible showcasing.

“The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) supports the launch of Scam Proof,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, noting that this initiative is in line with the BSP’s strategic roadmap to accelerate the adaptation of digital financial technologies and to ensure a safe payment ecosystem for customers and businesses.

“It is an important platform designed to increase consumer awareness and understanding of fraud and scams, and the ways of preventing the same,” he said.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a massive shift to digital payments with over four million new digital accounts opened since then. "Scam Proof serves as an innovative platform in line with the BSP’s e-safety campaign to further expand and raise overall cyber awareness in combating online fraud,” she said. “As we venture into the new economy, everyone must be more conscious of the shared responsibility in promoting e-safety,” she said.

“As technology progresses, there will be other [scams] that will be created by bad actors to steal bank resources and customers’ money,” said Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) president Cezar Consing. “So to have one website--that basically collates examples of the latest fraud techniques--will be beneficial for everyone.”

Metrobank chief marketing officer Digs Dimagiba pointed out how the cases of financial fraud, especially online scams, have more than doubled since the start of the pandemic. He referred to a report by TransUnion, a New York-based analytics firm, which noted that the number of fraud incidents in the Philippines has more than doubled.

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