Senator wants probe on loan, sale of e-wallet accounts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into the reported loan and sale of mobile wallet accounts, which police said are being used in criminal activities.

Gatchalian said in a statement released Thursday that relevant agencies should ultimately come up with effective measures to stop the practice of lending or selling SIM cards with verified e-wallet accounts.

He said the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group reported that criminals use accounts registered under different names for money laundering and identity theft, among other illegal acts.

The senator added that online payment platforms, including mobile wallets, may be used to facilitate gambling activities, noting that a recent hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs had found that these were used to place online cockfighting or e-sabong bets.

"While the use of mobile or e-wallets has provided tremendous benefits to many people such as ease of doing online transactions especially during the pandemic, we need to make sure that consumers are amply protected from harmful elements seeking dishonest gains through this channel," Gatchalian said.

According to the lawmaker, the estimated nine million registered e-wallet accounts nationwide in 2017 rose threefold in 2020.