THE PROJECT The law against digital fraud is designed to protect citizens from identity theft and fraud, according to Duvalier Sánchez, representative to the Chamber for Valle del Cauca of the Green Party. A debate away from becoming a law of the Republic, this initiative will offer a legal framework to attack electronic and computer crimes that have generated numerous complaints in the country. He assured that this situation in Colombia is alarming, which has been evidenced by more than 40,000 victims per year.
THE NEW CENTURY: Why is this law necessary in the country?
DUVALIER SANCHEZ: Because the issues of computer crime, electronic crime and identity theft are on the rise. According to the DIJIN, the complaints for this type of scourge have increased by more than 400%. After the pandemic, many people have decided to shop online and this whole issue of fraud and impersonation has caused many victims to end up with expensive debts that they did not choose. When they find out, they end up with another re-victimization before financial, telecommunications and commercial companies, which force them to pay a debt they did not choose.
ENS: What statistics do you currently have on identity theft?
DS: More than 40,000 victims a year, according to Asobancaria, due to financial and digital fraud. More than 400 complaints for these crimes in Colombia. In addition, in a study carried out by Microsoft among 23 countries, Colombia ranks 21st in terms of computer insecurity. One knows a family member or friend who is the victim of identity theft, generating million-dollar debts. It’s a day-to-day problem and it needs a Republic law to protect those victims.
ENS: Is this bill agreed with financial institutions and businesses?
DS: That’s how it is. We have served all trades, from Asomóvil, which is telecommunications, to new small and fast loan companies. The last thing we did before submitting this project for debate was a great forum, in which we listened to victims, unions and companies.
ENS: How to prevent people from taking advantage of the law to avoid paying for purchases that they actually made at a certain time?
DS: The first thing is that this project is based on the principle of good faith. Second, the person must notify the company that he was a victim and has time to file a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office. If after 30 days there is no complaint filed with the Prosecutor’s Office, the company reactivates the charges that have been generated: default interest and reporting in risk centers. That is why it is important that they know that, if they lie, they are committing a crime before the State.
ENS: What additional mechanisms should be established for banks and commercial institutions to verify the true identity of those who are buying?
DS: The purpose of the bill is to improve all the tools available to technology today for the verification and authentication of users of different services. That companies become co-responsible, but also that they prevent crime, since today credits and services are obtained only with an ID, without implementing verification protocols that allow improving computer security and digital security in this type of purchase. Even when the facts are given, the one most interested in resolving the case is the company. Therefore, you must present the evidence for the case to be clarified.
ENS: How would this law protect citizens who are victims of identity theft and fraud?
DS: When the project manages to get out of Congress, since it lacks a debate, it will generate protection and guarantees for the victims. As soon as they realize that these types of services were fraudulently removed, they notify and inform these financial entities, so the charges must be suspended. We guarantee rights to victims that there is no abuse by companies, due to a situation in which they have been involved.
ENS: What handling would be given to the report in risk centers?
DS: The person is left with a label that specifies that they have been a victim of digital impersonation, until the case is clarified. But she comes out of risk centers. Through this law, we generate this right in favor of the victim.
ENS: What would a citizen who has been a victim of impersonation have to do?
DS: It is easy, through a written means or telephone line, to notify the company that is generating the collection that it has been the victim of digital impersonation fraud. The company will have to suspend the collection and the victim must file the respective complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office, within a period of 30 days. If you do not do so within that time, the company or entity can continue with the collection.
ENS: The project protects people who are victims of digital impersonation and fraud, but what should a company or entity do that has been the target of this type of illegal action and that, through deception, large amounts of products are stolen?
DS: The process must be done by the company before the judicial system. Here the important thing is that the company must look for evidence. In addition, the company has more mechanisms to find the criminal than the citizen. What happens is that the citizen was the one who was responsible for payment. The burden of proof remains with the company. In addition, it is the company that has the means to guarantee higher security standards to verify and authenticate.