UPDATED on November 17, 2018: Land Bank's mobile banking app can now transfer funds to BPI and BDO.
Online banking is convenient, practical and, if you ask me, is right up there with running water when it comes to mankind's greatest innovations. However, because it is so convenient and still some sort of a novelty, it's easy for evildoers to use online banking to prey on innocent people who are not familiar with how this technology works.
Hands-down the most popular post in my blog is my tutorial on how to transfer funds to other banks using the Land Bank Mobile Banking app. I'm used to people reaching out to me privately because of the blogposts that I've written, specially those on my husband's angioplasty or on Manila Bankers Life, and I'm always happy to help and share what I know.
However, a few weeks ago, I received a strange message regarding Land Bank's mobile banking app. The guy asked if the Land Bank mobile banking app could really transfer funds to his BDO account. The quick and easy answer there is "No" because BDO is not one of the destination banks listed in the app.
No BDO and BPI among the choices
The guy kept on insisting that a transfer to BDO was legit and sent me all sorts of screencaps showing a successful transfer from the Landbank mobile app into his BDO account.
Just by looking at the screencaps, I already knew that they were fraudulent and told the guy so. But he didn't seem to believe me, until some gentle probing revealed that he was an online seller and had already sent a gadget to someone who supposedly transferred Php25,600 into his BDO account. That's why he didn't want to believe me, he was in denial and desperately wanted to believe that the transfer, with its 3 days clearing period, was legit :(
In order to prevent a similar scam from happening to another person, the seller graciously gave me permission to use his screencaps, with identifying details redacted.
I already talked about the process of transferring funds to another bank in my past post, so I won't go into that anymore. After the funds are transferred into your destination account, you'll receive this email notification:
There are two things to take note of here: (1) successfully transferred funds are INSTANTLY reflected in your destination bank account, there is no clearing period; and (2) the email notice is sent by "lbpmobileapps".
Here are the screencaps sent by the scammer to the online seller as evidence of a supposed successful fund transfer using the Land Bank mobile app. I have made notes on the red flags that I noticed which signified the fraudulent nature of the purported email notification from "Land Bank Philippines".
I have already mentioned that BDO is not one of the destination banks, so that was a dead giveaway for me. Another red flag was the Php50 transaction fee because Land Bank only charges a Php25 transaction fee. Furthermore, the Land Bank notification does not indicate the transaction fee charged, you'll only see that when you look at your statement of account.
Here are some more screencaps from the scammer:
This was a blatant fraudulent act for me because I am familiar with Land Bank mobile app and with online banking in general. I've also done online fund transfers with two other banks (BPI and Metrobank) and the transferred funds are immediately reflected in the destination account, there is no clearing period. Moreover, I have come to expect a certain degree of professionalism from bank correspondence so typographical and grammatical errors are clear signs for me of phishing and fraudulent attempts.
However, I know that this is not the case with everyone because not everyone uses online banking services. The online seller admitted that he sent the gadget because the scammer seemed believable and was so sure of the legitimacy of the transaction. Besides, the scammer sent those screencaps and they looked legit enough. But a day after he sent the item, the online seller still had that niggling doubt so he researched about Land Bank mobile app and found my post.
He should have trusted his gut.
Even if it's Prince Harry who promised that the funds will definitely show up in your account after a few days so it's safe to send the item over, never let go of your merchandise without confirming that the funds are actually in your account.
The online seller learned that the hard way. Now he has 25,600 reasons why he will never ship an item before confirming receipt of payment.
Just so we won't end on a sad note, let me invite you all again to PIFA's half-day event on November 24, 2018 at SM Aura Premier. The agenda promises a nerdgasm for all personal finance geeks.
See you all there! And remember, there may be many evildoers lurking out there, but the kind and generous people still outnumber them 100 or even 1000 to 1. Enjoy your weekend!