GCash rolls out new anonymity feature, assures no data breach in system

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8)— Mobile wallet GCash has rolled out a new anonymity feature in a bid to further boost consumer data protection.

In a statement issued Thursday, GCash announced an application update which hides the full names of users in its send money service.

“In the past, the name of the person is seen as an added measure of convenience and helps verify that the recipient is correct,” GCash said.

“We need to strike a balance between customer experience and strengthening measures to keep user information safe from unscrupulous individuals,” it added.

GCash also noted that its e-wallet service has started to migrate transaction confirmations from text messages to the application’s inbox for better security and smoother consumer access.

The development comes amid the proliferation of new text scams bearing receivers’ names — which the fintech firm vowed to help address.

Among the security measures deployed are cyber threat detection and analytics, vulnerability scanning, as well as incident response and forensics.

GCash likewise assured users there has been no data breach in its systems, saying it is in close coordination with concerned government agencies regarding the case.

“We have been working closely with the National Privacy Commission on the issue of text scams with names," Chief Information Security Officer Mark Frogoso was quoted as saying.

"We wish to assure our customers that our systems and infrastructure remain secure and there is no incidence of any data leak or breach. Protecting the personal information of our customers remains a top priority which we believe is integral to our vision of achieving finance for all.”

Industry’s fight vs. scammers

Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio said the country has recorded a spike in text scams, as evidenced by the number of scams and spam messages Globe blocked from January to July, which reached over 784 million.

The Globe official said that while the telco industry is doing its part to combat scammers, the sector needs unified efforts to pin down criminals.

"You know what's missing? Going after the criminals. It's not just prevention but I think we have to get into apprehension," Bonifacio said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ News Night on the same day.

"If we are not able to make an example out of these criminals, if we are not able to find them, I don't think they will stop. It's lucrative for them. We really need to work together, build those partnerships to put somebody behind bars," he added.

To report scams and fraudulent activities, visit the official GCash Help Center at https://help.gcash.com/hc/en-us or message Gigi on the website and type, “I want to report a scam.”

GCash will NEVER send users personal messages to address concerns or get personal information, especially the MPIN and One-time Pin (OTP). Customers can also reach out to the official GCash hotline 2882 for queries and other concerns.