MANILA – Vulnerable car buyers and sellers should be wary of auto loan “pasalo-benta” or assume balance scams, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Wednesday.

There has been an “increasingly prevalent modus” called the Pasalo-Benta or the Balance/Pasalo Scheme where perpetrators target car buyers who want to save on costs and sellers who need to transfer liabilities, the BSP said in a statement. 

Under the scheme, a syndicate member will buy a vehicle from a seller who wants to transfer liability and will sign an agreement to assume payments for the auto loan. 

However, the bogus buyer, which has no intention to pay the remaining amortization, will sell the vehicle to the end-buyer (victim) using falsified documents, the central bank said.

The victim will have no rights over the vehicle which will eventually get repossessed “leaving the end-buyer with nothing,” the BSP said.

Banks and financial institutions, meanwhile, were reminded by the BSP to “strictly observe and strengthen” the anti-money laundering regulations on:

• customer identification and verification procedures

• ongoing monitoring of customers and their transactions

• reporting of suspicious transactions

• continuing AML training program including controls relating to partner/accredited car dealers

A memo has been released to the BSP-Supervised Financial Institutions (BSFIs) on organized crimes through auto loans, the central bank said.

The memo called for the reinforcement of…

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