Bank hackers, ATM fraudsters may face life imprisonment charges with new law

Bank system hackers and ATM skimmers might be facing life imprisonment after President Duterte signed into law that declares fraudulent acts as a form of economic sabotage. Duterte signed Republic Act 11449 on August 28.

bank hackers
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RA 11449 may also be known as “an act providing for additional prohibitions to and increasing penalties for violations of Republic Act 8484 (Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998)”.

According to Section 1 of the said law (amends Section 2 of RA 8484), “… the commission of a crime using access devices is a form of economic sabotage and a heinous crime and shall be punishable to the maximum level allowed by law.

Access devices, as defined in Section 2 of this law (amends Section 3a of RA 8484), may include any “card, plate, code, account number, electronic serial number, personal identification number or other telecommunications service, equipment or instrumental identifier or other means of account access that can be used to obtain money, good, services or any other thing of value or to initiate a transfer of funds (other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument).

Prohibited acts, as stated under Section 3 of this law (amends Section 9 of RA 8484), includes trafficking in one or more counterfeit access devices, skimming, production of skimming device, accessing in a fraudulent manner, and hacking.

Bank hackers as well as ATM skimmers may face hefty charges and longer years of imprisonment as mentioned in Section 4 of this law (amends Section 10 of RA 8484).

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) mentioned that the association supports the new law that protects their clients and provides remedial measures in order to help attain speedy conviction against offenders.

The unabated activities of these criminals will not only result in loss of money but likewise cause distrust to the financial institutions. In both instances, the damage is beyond pecuniary estimation as it will destabilize the economy,” according to the BAP.

The relatively lighter penalties and fines and the vagueness in elements of the crime in the old law have been adequately addressed by these amendments. These amendments illustrate Congress’s deep appreciation of fraud and cybersecurity threats that this important legislation will effectively address,” the BAP added in their statement.

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