NBI ordered to probe phishing schemes involving teachers Land Bank accounts

National Bureau of Investigation (2)

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has issued an order that directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the phishing schemes that have reportedly victimized teachers with deposit accounts at the Land Bank of the Philippines.

In Department Order No. 012, the NBI was “directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation and case build-up on alleged phishing schemes victimizing teachers with Land Bank accounts, and, if evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against those found responsible therefor.”

The order also directed NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric B. Distor “to submit a report on the progress of the subject investigation and case build-up to the Office of the Secretary within thirty (30) days from receipt hereof, and periodically thereafter.”

The DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) has described phishing, along with vishing and smishing, as “forms of cybercrimes in which the perpetrator posing as a legitimate institution, such as a bank, online payment site, or an online commerce site, devises a message through electronic, phone call, or text message” with the objective “to lure individuals into providing sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and usernames and passwords.”

Land Bank confirmed last Monday, Jan. 24, that a number of teachers with deposits at the bank have fallen victims to phishing.

The bank issued the statement following the report made by the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition that some teachers lost between P26,000 and P121,000 each from their Land Bank accounts due to hacking.

“According to the initial investigation by Landbank, the devices of the teachers were hacked via phishing, which compromised their personal information,” the Land Bank said.

“The bank has already reached out to the affected customers and is working on the resolution of these isolated cases at the soonest possible time,” it added.

It reminded depositors: “Refrain from opening suspicious emails, links and attachments, and sharing your account and personal information. Official Landbank representatives will never ask for the critical financial information of customers.”