• Kyodo

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Japan Post Bank Co. said Thursday the amount of money stolen from customers’ accounts due to a series of security breaches of seven electronic payment services has ballooned to about ¥60 million ($570,000).

The bank has asked its 5.5 million clients who use electronic payment systems, including NTT Docomo Inc.’s e-money service, to make sure that money in their accounts has not been stolen.

As of Tuesday, there were about 380 illegal withdrawals, with both the stolen amount and incidents of illegal access to bank accounts nearly tripling from those confirmed as of Sept. 18, according to the bank.

“I deeply apologize to our customers for causing tremendous damage and anxiety,” Norito Ikeda, president of Japan Post Bank, said at a press conference.

The bank is aiming to complete reimbursements of stolen funds by the end of October at the earliest.

Following the series of thefts via smartphone-based cashless payment services, dozens of banks have suspended new registrations for the major mobile carrier’s e-money service.

Japan Post Bank was also involved in another series of illegal withdrawals, in which a total of nearly ¥100 million was stolen from the accounts of six clients of SBI Securities Co.

The stolen money was transferred to unauthorized accounts of Japan Post Bank and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, opened by someone using fake identification.

In response to the incidents, Japan Post Bank on Thursday implemented a stricter personal identification process to prevent the opening of unauthorized accounts.

The bank decided it will only accept photo identification, such as a driver’s license, in the process of opening bank accounts.