GCash deactivates 4 million suspicious accounts

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MANILA  -E-wallet brand GCash took down 4 million accounts found to be linked to suspicious activities as it ramps up its cyber defenses against phishing and other forms of digital scams.

Oscar Reyes Jr., president and CEO of e-wallet operator G-Xchange Inc., told reporters in an event in Taguig on Wednesday the deactivated accounts were monitored from January last year until July 2023.

“Our consumers should feel that when they access GCash, it is a safe environment and their funds are safe with GCash,” he said.

The action was in line with efforts to curb phishing, an act of deceiving vulnerable individuals into surrendering their personal information. The victim usually inputs his or her data into a fake website or app, which the criminals use for account takeover.

READ: GCash steps up safety measures vs hacking

The company blocked 185 malicious sites in the first half as part of its regular monitoring.

In March, GCash introduced the “DoubleSafe” security feature to prevent account takeovers, which allow hackers to drain a user’s e-wallet account.

The feature is activated for every first login to a new device by the user. It is backed by facial recognition, which prevents hackers from accessing the account even if they get the user’s mobile PIN (MPIN) and one-time PIN (OTP).

Blamed on phishing

But in May, multiple GCash users reported losing money in their accounts, which the National Privacy Commission eventually blamed on phishing. GCash said it quickly implemented a downtime and corrected the balances of customers.

READ: GCash foils P37-M hack try; seized funds to be returned to users

“We’re doing several things to prove our cybersecurity and efforts to curb these issues,” Reyes said, adding: “We actually onboard all the cybersecurity software available. We constantly search ways to improve it further.”

Parent company Globe Telecom Inc. recently tapped Traceable AI to beef up its digital security infrastructure.

In a related development, Globe threw its support behind a pending bill penalizing individuals guilty of financial fraud.

Globe said it has received reports of individuals selling to fraudsters their registered SIM cards, which already have e-wallet and bank accounts set up.

“These are things that should be made a criminal offense in this country. Because you are making yourself an accessory, you’re aiding in the commitment of a crime,” Globe Group president and CEO Ernest Cu said in a statement on Wednesday.



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