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Selling personal information for bank accounts comes with serious risks in Vietnam

Friday, June 01, 2018, 18:02 GMT+7
Selling personal information for bank accounts comes with serious risks in Vietnam
A warning about the risk of selling bank accounts to strangers at a bank in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Local residents in Vietnam are being tricked into ‘selling’ their personal information and documents to ‘buyers’ who use them to open multiple bank accounts, unaware of the consequences if the accounts are utilized for illegal schemes.

The situation has become so alarming that the State Bank of Vietnam has issued two warnings in the past five days.

A probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper showed that these bank account ‘buyers’ often target manual laborers, college students, owners of small businesses, and housewives.

In other words, they are residents who lack legal knowledge, have low income, or need some quick and easy money.

With just a single ID, an individual can open multiple accounts at different lenders, each of which can later be sold to the ‘buyers’ for VND200,000 (US$9).

Hang, a fresh university graduate in Ho Chi Minh City, agreed to open five bank accounts and then sold them to a buyer.

The young woman was even given a quick training session so that she would be able to answer questions from bank employees and a SIM card so she could sign up for Internet and mobile banking services.

While waiting at the bank, Hang noticed that several people had their requests to open bank accounts denied.

Her request, however, was approved and she was able to collect payment from the buyer and return the SIM card.

She never found out the reason why the buyer wanted the accounts.

A warning sign at a bank in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A warning sign at a bank in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

According to Huynh Buu Quang, general director of Maritime Bank, there is a chance that dishonest ‘buyers’ plan to use the bank accounts to receive money earned from illegal activities.

If caught, it is the person whose name is on the account who could bear responsibility.

“They may face legal issues if the bank accounts are involved in fraudulent schemes,” Quang warned.

Given the rapid spread of the problem, the central bank is considering putting a limit on the number of bank accounts each citizen may hold.

It reiterated that residents must not use their personal information to open bank accounts for other people.

Local lenders are required to closely monitor all transactions on accounts bearing their name in order to detect any strange or suspicions sign.  

Nguyen Huu Phuc, a card manager at Sacombank, said that the lender has been raising awareness of the situation among its employees and clients.

The bank recently refused to open accounts for a group of clients who appeared to be selling the accounts to strangers, Phuc stated.

They were also given advice and warnings regarding the potential risks associated with such deals.

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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