BAP to public: Beware of ‘Money Mules’

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) has warned the public about the criminal intent of bank scammers wo may tempt bank depositors of free money in exchange for the use of the bank deposit accounts in their criminal activities.

The BAP call the victims of the scam as “Money Mules” or innocent or intentional facilitators of the criminal activity by allowing the scammers to use their bank accounts to transfer funds from criminal sources. The group has vowed to work with legislators to improve the country’s cybersecurity law. 

The BAP said “cybercriminals approach their targets by offering financial incentives in exchange for lending their bank accounts for the purpose of transferring money to another entity.”  When this happens, the “money mules will end up as  victims as well as an unwilling and unwitting partner of the cybercriminal.”  

BAP officials explain that “cybercriminals use these bank accounts for crimes such as money laundering or for transferring money stolen from victims. The Filipino public is thus strongly discouraged from accepting money from suspicious strangers and individuals in exchange for lending them their bank accounts.”   

The BAP has vowed to work with and coordinate further with legislators to help improve the country’s cybersecurity law. 

“We continue to advocate for the passage of House Bill No. 9615, or the Bank Account and E-Wallet Regulation Act, into law so that cybercriminals will be held accountable for their actions. This bill proposes imprisonment and fines for people found guilty of committing phishing, economic sabotage, and becoming a money mule,” it said.

The BAP also encouraged “all stakeholders to work together to stop this criminal act from proliferating.”