MANILA – The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) is encouraging the public to be more discerning to prevent themselves from being money mules, as it vows to work with legislators to improve the country’s cybersecurity law. 
 
Money mule is someone who either intentionally or unintentionally allows another person, usually a cybercriminal, to use his or her bank account to transfer funds. 
 
In a statement on Thursday, 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.” 
 
The BAP said once a bank account has been used for illegal activities, “a money mule will end up as a victim as well as an unwilling and unwitting assistant to the criminal.”  
 
It said “cybercriminals use these bank accounts for crimes such as money laundering or for transferring money stolen from victims.” 
 
“Therefore, the Filipino public is strongly discouraged from accepting money from suspicious strangers and individuals in exchange for lending accounts to these criminals,” it added.  
 
The BAP said it will 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.” 
 
“Our collective effort at protecting our wealth is the key to safeguarding our future,” it added. (PNA)