House leader files anti-skimming bill

MANILA-- A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Tuesday filed a bill that seeks to penalize the skimming of automated teller machine (ATM) cards, hacking a bank system, and unauthorized access to online bank applications and other fraudulent activities.

House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries chair Ben Evardone filed House Bill 5934, which declares as a form of economic sabotage and a heinous crime the skimming of at least 50 ATM cards, hacking of a bank system, or unauthorized access to at least 50 bank applications and accounts.

The bill shall also penalize such acts with life imprisonment plus fines ranging from PHP1 million to PHP5 million.

Skimming, as defined in the bill, is a type of fraud which occurs when an ATM is compromised by a skimming device, a card reader which can be disguised to look like a part of the ATM machine and which saves the users' card number and pin code.

Evardone said in his explanatory note that these acts erode the trust and confidence on the banking sector and the general financial system.

"With the fast advancement of technology came a new way of stealing one's money. Criminals and criminal syndicates were able to illegally access the various electronic medium of transactions and they were able to unlawfully appropriate to themselves the hard earned money of others," Evardone said.

The measure aims to "avert further adverse losses on the financial sector" and secure the public's "trust on the electronic financial and trade sectors," the lawmaker noted.

HB 5934 also seeks to increase other penalties in Republic Act 8484, or the Access Device Law.

Source: Philippines News Agency