MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Mobile wallet service provider GCash has upgraded its privacy protection for users by redacting personal information such as hiding usernames in the Send Money service.
In a statement on Thursday, September 8, GCash’s chief information security officer Mark Frogoso stated that the recent update is to add a layer of protection for the customer. The recipient’s name in the send money service was previously visible for “convenience” and to help verify the intended recipient, but not anymore.
Frogoso said there had been no data breach or leak in GCash’s systems and that the “data integrity” of the company’s roughly 66 million users remains intact.
“We have been working closely with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) on the issue of text scams with names. We wish to assure our customers that our systems and infrastructure remain secure and there is no incidence of any data leak or the breach,” he said, adding, “Protecting the personal information of our customers remains a top priority which we believe is integral to our vision of achieving Finance for All.”
Frogoso said the new update would help strike a balance between customer experience and data security measures.
“We must balance customer experience and strengthening measures to protect user information from unscrupulous individuals. For example, the feature that shows recipients’ full names was intended to help users verify if they are sending to the right person and avoid being scammed,” he said.
To improve security and give ease of access to transaction history, GCash also migrated transaction confirmations to its mobile app inbox instead of going to text messages.
Globe blocks scams and spam messages
Following an unprecedented rise in cases at the height of the pandemic, the parent company of GCash, Globe (Globe Telecom Inc.), has spent USD 20 million, or Php 1.1 billion, to boost its capabilities in detecting and blocking scams and spam messages.
From January to July this year, Globe blocked 784 million scams and spam messages, deactivated 14,058 scam-linked SIM cards (while blacklisting 8,973 others), and blocked 610 domains or URLs (uniform resource locators).
On Wednesday, September 7, the NPC revealed data aggregators (companies that collect data for commercial purposes) should not be the source of the recent wave of text scams. Nevertheless, they continue to investigate the cons.
They are currently looking into the name format of the messages sent to victims, trying to find out whether these match their names in messaging apps, mobile wallets, and payment applications.
GCash underscores its strong commitment to protecting its customers’ accounts and personal information as it places its utmost priority on helping to address scam text messages that bear the full names of mobile phone users. –WhatALife!/Zed