Verify Landbank claim, depositors urge BSP
MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation said the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) can verify in its computer system whether the teachers who lost money in their payroll accounts were indeed victimized in a phishing scam even as the teachers demanded the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to verify the bank’s claims.
NBI cybercrime division chief Victor Lorenzo said the bank’s system could verify whether the victims shared their OTPs, or onetime passwords, with others.
“But if [the OTPs] were not shared, the bank must shoulder the losses,” Lorenzo said in a television interview as victimized teachers disputed Landbank’s claim that their computer systems were safe and secure.
Benjo Basas, chair of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), asked the BSP to verify Landbank’s claim and help the affected teachers who disputed the bank’s claim that they were victmized in a phishing scam.
From 20, the number of teachers and nonteaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) who complained of losing money in their payroll accounts have gone up to 24.
The figure as of Wednesday was based on the validation done by TDC, but Basas clarified that “more or less, the total incidents, including those who haven’t submitted their documents yet, is around 40.”
In a statement on Tuesday, the government-run bank said that based on its initial investigation, the incidents of teachers allegedly losing their money were isolated cases, adding that the teachers were victims of a “phishing” scam where scammers gained the teachers’ deposit information when the teachers were tricked into clicking an email or text message link.
But the teachers and DepEd employees had disputed Landbank’s explanation.
Forwarded to DepEd
Joseph Damina, an administrative staff at DepEd Calabarzon, said he did not click any link or attachment, nor did he talk to anyone about the OTPs he got from Landbank.
He received five OTP messages from the bank around 2 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2021, but read them only when he woke up the next day. Upon checking his online account, he saw that from P163,283, only P100.02 was left of his money, which was supposed to fund his wedding this year.
“The problem here is that [Landbank] held the money that was stolen … Based on their statements, they did not even say that they will do what they can to catch the perpetrators,” Basas said.
“At least give justice to the victims who lost their money and not tell them that it was their fault,” he stressed.
TDC said it had forwarded its concerns to the DepEd because if the department would collectively bring the case of its employees who were victimized, “maybe Landbank would change its tone since they are both government agencies.”
According to Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd undersecretary for finance, the department would help in coordinating with Landbank about the problems in the bank accounts used in their payroll system.
“The actual resolution shall be within [the bank] and the concerned bank account holder as details of the alleged unauthorized access are within the two parties,” Sevilla told the Inquirer.
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