IN THOSE days when the banking industry was not yet patronized by many depositors, people kept their money at home in their “kaban,” or a chest made of wood that resembled a coffin where people kept their clothes and blankets. When my 94-year-old grandmother died almost three decades ago, we found bundles of money in different denominations in her “kaban” wrapped in her blankets and clothes. Kadtong mga habol sa akong lola gahi ug tuskig pag-ayo kay inarmerolan man. Unya mogawas lang to panahon sa fiesta para ipagamit sa mga bisita.
In rural areas, old folks keep their money in the “haligi” (foundation or post) of their houses, especially if it is made of bamboo. However, the money was susceptible to theft and fire.
Also, during those times, bank depositors withdrew their money over the counter, which was sometimes an inconvenience because of the long waiting period. Back then, government and private employees had to line up at their accounting departments during payday to claim their salaries. But those days are gone since the advent of new technology with the introduction of online banking and installations of automated teller machines (ATMs).
With the installation of ATMs in every bank branch and in various locations made it more convenient for depositors to withdraw cash 24/7.
But is our money safe in the bank? Not so. Why? Because banks sometimes collapse or sometimes bank runs happen.
We have heard of stories about depositors getting some relief through the bank’s insurance by the Philippine Deposits Insurance Corp., but this only covers P500,000 per depositor while the bank is under receivership.
Second, some “bank robbers” have also gone hi-tech.
Look what’s happening now with skimming incidents at ATMs. Several depositors of the government depository bank Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) have complained about unauthorized withdrawals. Most of the victims are government employees whose payroll money are coursed through the bank.
It was found out that this modus is the handiwork of an international syndicate. Just recently, the National Bureau of Investigation 7 arrested three Romanian nationals believed to be involved in the syndicate operating here. Confiscated from their possession during the raid in their rented condominium unit were cloned ATM cards with micro chips and magnetic gadgets believed to used in skimming.
These gadgets copy all the personal data of depositors. Then using cloned ATM cards, they can easily withdraw from the account of their victims. It’s a hi-tech thing that maybe “Filipino bank robbers” cannot easily imitate. Tulis ug holdup pa man sa mga bangko ang nahibaloan sa mga Filipinong tulisan.
Last week, GMA 7 employees received a memorandum from our central office enjoining us to apply for a new ATM card that has a microchip that will prevent up from being victimized by skimming, as per order of Central Bank. But I doubt this will last because people responsible for skimming are also doing research to upgrade their capability to steal money from the banks using new technology.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 20, 2017.
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