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GCash, SEC Ink Deal to Combat Cybercrimes in the Philippines

Photo for the Article - GCash, SEC Ink Deal to Combat Cybercrimes in the Philippines
  • GCash and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have joined forces to combat financial crimes and scams, signing a memorandum of agreement (MoA) for cooperation in investigating such crimes.
  • The collaboration aims to enhance user security in the digital space, with a focus on protecting GCash users from cyberthreats and scams, according to GCash CEO Oscar A. Reyes, Jr.
  • The MoA expands the partnership between GCash and the SEC, allowing for efficient cooperation between the SEC’s Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) and GCash to combat fraud and enhance financial inclusion in the Philippines.

The mobile e-wallet giant GCash and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are collaborating to increase their efforts against the perpetrators of financial crimes and scams. 

GCash and SEC Collaboration

On September 28, the two signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in which GCash agreed to cooperate with the SEC in investigating financial fraud crimes by providing information in accordance with prevailing laws, rules, and regulations.

“By continuously working with the government in combating scams, fraud, and other cybercrimes, we want our users to have peace of mind and confidence to transact in the digital space. After all, at GCash, the security of our users is our utmost priority,”  Oscar A. Reyes, Jr., the CEO of the mobile wallet operator of GCash G-Xchange, Inc., stated.

Reyes further stated that the firm will collaborate with the SEC and continue to improve and innovate in order to protect their customers from cyberthreats and other types of scams. 

Mynt Chief Legal Officer Maricor Alvarez-Adriano noted that although GCash and SEC have been working together in the past the MOA will expand their partnership.

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“The MOA entered into today allows efficient cooperation between EIPD (Enforcement and Investor Protection Department) and GCash. Through this MoA, the EIPD can request vital information from GCash to build better cases in its fight against fraud,” SEC Chairman and CEO Emilio Benito Aquino said. 

Aquino also affirmed that the Commission is dedicated to assisting financial technology companies in achieving their objective of bringing the capital market to more Filipinos.

“As the country’s investor champion, we must think of ways for financial technology companies like GCash to thrive. Financial services offered by GCash will further the cause for financial inclusion and bring the capital market to more Filipinos,” Aquino added.

Accordingly, the two entities reminded the public to be alert against scams, and to report any suspicious activity to GCash. They also remind users to immediately report if they have sent money to a suspicious account. 

“They’re leveraging fintech digital technology for purposes of scams. Technology is very much like fire- it can burn your house as it can cook your food,” Aquino noted. 

Last May, GCash experienced irregular transactions–that attempted to steal ₱37 million of digital money– involving the transfer of funds via InstaPay to Asia United Bank (AUB) and EastWest Bank (EWB). The National Privacy Commission (NPC)’s investigation concluded that the security breach that affected some GCash users was a result of phishing attacks, most specifically from online gambling platforms like “Philwin” and “tapwin1.com.”

SEC Advisory vs. Scams

Recently, the country’s SEC participated in two workshops in August 2023. The first, from August 14 to 17, involved the PH SEC joining the IOSCO Workshop and Investigation and Enforcement Training Workshop at their headquarters in Makati City. Subsequently, on August 18, 2023, the PH SEC signed a Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. SEC, IOSCO, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). They also conducted the Exchange of Information Public Workshop 2023.

Earlier this year, the Commission released a draft of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Law (Republic Act 11765). This IRR is intended to bolster the regulatory authority of financial regulators, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Insurance Commission, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), and the SEC.

In addition to these, the SEC has always been active in identifying unregistered and fraudulent entities that offer investments to the public without the proper licenses.

GCash Initiatives Against Fraud

In May, GCash launched the “DoubleSafe” Face ID feature for all verified users, bolstering security and preventing unauthorized transactions. This feature employs facial recognition technology and liveness detection to safeguard user accounts, even in cases where their PIN is compromised. 

During the GCash Futurecast last March, the firm also introduced GChat, an in-app messenger feature that claims to combine “messaging and money” which will allow users to transact with their contacts and merchants, including an instant GCash transfer receipt and transaction history. 

In November of the previous year, the mobile e-wallet joined forces with the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to combat cybercrimes like phishing and online fraud that exploit the GCash app. Their memorandum of agreement (MOA) strengthens collaboration in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting cybercrimes, promoting anti-cybercrime programs, and enhancing coordination with other government agencies. 

In September 2022, GCash implemented a new feature to anonymize account usernames when making transactions in an effort to further address concerns about data privacy and spam text messages. The feature censors the full names of users in its send money service. 

This article is published on BitPinas: E-Wallet Gcash, SEC Ink Deal Against Financial Scam, Cybercrime

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