financial technology

GCash back online, dismisses hacking speculations

Lance Spencer Yu

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GCash back online, dismisses hacking speculations
(2nd UPDATE) Users can now resume transactions on GCash even while the investigation is ongoing

MANILA, Philippines – GCash has finished adjusting the e-wallets of users affected by unauthorized transactions on their accounts that reduced their balance.

“We wish to reiterate that our customers did not lose their funds on GCash. The app is now up for service, so you can safely proceed with your regular transactions,” GCash said in an official statement late afternoon of Tuesday, May 9.

“Our proactive cybersecurity policies are in place to protect our customers as the safety and security of your account is our top priority,” it added.

GCash had conducted a “preventive maintenance” earlier on Tuesday, May 9, to investigate the complaints of multiple customers regarding the deductions to their balances.

“Yesterday, some customers may have noticed a deduction in their GCash accounts. We assure you that an adjustment in their balance will be made within the day, and that funds will remain safe and secure with GCash,” the fintech giant said in an advisory earlier on Tuesday.

Reports of anomalous GCash transactions started the day before, on Monday, May 8. Several netizens noticed that their account balances were deducted, with funds being allegedly transferred to accounts in EastWest Bank and Asia United Bank (AUB).

Naka-receive nga po kami ng mga complaints sa ating mga customers kahapon at ginawa po namin, immediately, tinignan po namin at conduct kami ng (We received complaints from our customers yesterday, and we immediately looked at it and conducted a) investigation. In fact, until now, we are still coordinating with our partner banks. Pero (But) what we would like to say is there are no funds lost,” said Gilda Maquilan, vice president for corporate communications of GCash.

DOWN. The GCash app remains inaccessible as of 11:45 am on May 9.

Bigyan lang po kami ng until 3 pm today, at ito ay ma-rereflect back doon sa kanilang mga account,” she said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Teleradyo on Tuesday.

(Just give us until 3 pm today, and this will reflect back in their account.)

‘No hacking happened’

In an interview on DZBB, Maquilan dismissed speculation that the incident was caused by hacking.

Definitely, wala pong hacking ang nangyari. Kaya lang, pagkameron po tayong transaction or complaint, ang ginagawa po natin ay chinecheck po natin at ini-investigate ‘yan. At this point, hindi lang ako makadisclose ng full details din po kasi ongoing pa rin po ‘yan, at meron din po kasi kaming bank partners na kailangan po natin makapagugnayan for the full investigation,” Maquilan said.

(Definitely, there was no hacking that occurred. But when there are these type of transactions or complaints, we need to conduct an investigation. At this point, I can’t disclose full details since it’s still ongoing, and we have bank partners that we need to coordinate with for the full investigation.)

GCash is also already coordinating with EastWest Bank and AUB to come up with an “immediate resolution” and determine what transpired.

Kung meron pong na-inconvenience, kami po’y nagpapaumanhin (If anyone was inconvenienced, we apologize),” Maquilan said. “I assure everyone that there is no fund loss.” 

GCash also reminded its customers not to share their one-time password (OTP) and PIN to prevent an account takeover and loss of funds.

EXPLAINER: What is digital fraud and how do you protect yourself from scams?

EXPLAINER: What is digital fraud and how do you protect yourself from scams?
Banks respond

EastWest Bank said that it was “actively cooperating with authorities and investigating these reports.”

AUB, on the other hand, said GCash alerted the bank on Monday regarding the transfer of funds via Instapay to a specific AUB account, which the bank had since temporarily put on hold.

“Be assured that we at AUB are extending our utmost cooperation with GCash on the matter and assisting GCash in so far as looking into the said AUB account,” Emma Cabochan, legal services head and data privacy officer of AUB, said in a statement. – Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.