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BDO warns against SIM-card-related scams

Anjie lou delos Reyes
BDO Unibank, Inc. cautions against scammers who use SIM cards to deceive and steal their victims’ money. One modus is called SIM Swapping, where scammers disguise as telco agents offering upgraded network connection in exchange for SIM cards.

BDO warns against SIM-card-related scams
BDO warns against SIM-card-related scams

More prevalent is the SIM Upgrade modus. Scammers purchase 4G SIM cards, register their victims’ mobile number, and fool their victims into giving the One-Time PIN (OTP) needed to own the mobile number.

In both modus operandi, scammers take over their victims’ mobile numbers to control their victims’ online bank accounts.

BDO urges clients to call BDO Customer Care to deactivate their accounts if they get SMS notifications or emails about suspicious online transactions.

How SIM Swapping and SIM Upgrade work

Scammers identify then gather their victims’ personal information through phishing or from the internet. They mention personal information such as birth date and mother’s maiden name when they call their victims to sound convincing and credible. Once they win their victims’ trust, they can convince them to surrender their SIM card or OTP to activate a 4G SIM card.

For protection, BDO advises clients to be prudent in sharing personal information online and to keep their social media accounts in private mode.

With their victims’ personal information and mobile number, scammers can more easily outsmart banks’ multifactor authentication (MFA) and transfer money from their victims’ online bank accounts to their own. Common MFA consists of using a username and password to log in an online bank account, and receiving one-time PINs on a registered mobile number to confirm a transaction.

How to protect yourself

While scammers continue to take advantage of today’s challenging new normal to con people, there are ways to protect against their attacks. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) share the following tips in a recent advisory:
• Never give out personal information and SIM card details in response to unsolicited calls/texts from unknown individuals.
• Always check SMS and email alerts for unusual transactions and/or activities involving your bank/e-money accounts.
• In case you’ve already provided your SIM and other personal details, contact your bank/mobile phone provider immediately.

BDO encourages clients to report suspicious incidents to, or get in touch with its representatives by logging in Messenger and looking for BDO Customer Care with the blue verified checkmark from Facebook. Clients may also call their hotline at 8631-8000.

BDO reiterates fight against account verification scam

Scammers are stepping into high gear with their attacks as the country continues to observe the enhanced community quarantine. A prevalent scam has them posing as bank personnel and urging clients to verify their bank accounts by clicking on a link. This link then opens a website that looks exactly like a bank’s official website. On this fake website, they trick clients into divulging their personal information.

BDO reiterates fight against account verification scam
BDO reiterates fight against account verification scam

Personal information includes account numbers, credit card information, online banking login details like usernames and passwords, and One-Time PINs (OTP). It enables scammers to use clients’ identities, access their online bank accounts, and steal their money.

BDO Unibank reiterates that it will never ask their clients to verify their bank accounts. Legitimate bank officers, it says, will never reach out via SMS, call, email, or social media to ask for personal information for account validation.

Banking from home

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), alongside the various banks, have been encouraging clients to bank online over visiting their branches, particularly at this time when the entire country is moving to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Online banking, the BSP adds, promotes social distancing, and helps accountholders avoid face-to-face interactions. Above all, staying at home allows them to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus.

BDO, for its part, continues to encourage its clients to bank from home and enroll in BDO Online Banking. To guide clients who may be banking online for the first time, the bank promotes how-to videos on its YouTube page and has helpful posts on its Facebook page and official website.

Staying vigilant against scammers

Scammers, however, are taking advantage of the lockdown situation and the added online banking usage. Upping their ante, their attacks now are more sophisticated than ever—their grammar is correct; their communication style is convincingly professional; their fake websites look exactly like their legitimate counterparts. As a result, many, especially first-time users of online banking, are getting victimized and losing their money.

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) already called on account holders to be more vigilant: “There have been emails going around informing clients of account deactivation and asking clients to click on a link to prevent deactivation due to COVID-19. We would like to advise against doing so since it will compromise your account security… Banks will never request for your sensitive information.”

Meanwhile, through its #BDOAntiScam campaign, BDO empowers its clients with information that teaches them how to be smarter than scammers. It exposes scam attacks, reminds about the things legitimate bank officers will never do or ask for, and shares defenses such as never sharing personal information and never clicking on links to verify their bank accounts.

Clients who have been scammed, or even just suspect of being scammed, can get in touch with BDO by emailing They can also log in Messenger, look for BDO Customer Care with the blue verified checkmark from Facebook, and chat with a bank representative.

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