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Globe, Unionbank Team Up vs Online Scammers, Here's Why It Matters

Plus what to do in case you get scammed.
by Clara Rosales
3 hours ago
Photo/s: Pexels/Stock Photo

Globe and Unionbank on Thursday signed a data-sharing agreement that aims to improve data exchange between the telco and the bank to, allowing them act faster against online fraud.

Pandemic restrictions pushed Filipinos to go digital with their cash, making way for faster transactions and touchless payments. This advancement also left room for scammers to take advantage of subscribers and customers.

Through this memorandum of agreement, which is in accordance with the existing laws and regulations including the Data Privacy Act of 2012, Globe and Unionbank hope to help customers catch cybercriminals faster.

“The [National Privacy Commission] in an advisory opinion provided that this type of disclosure of personal information which includes names, address, contact details by communication entities like Globe to banks like Unionbank for purposes of fraud investigation is expressly allowed under the Data Privacy Act,” said Global Data Protection Officer Irish Almeida.

“There is lawful basis or criteria for processing information when there is legitimate interest, which includes fraud detection and prevention with the end goal of protecting our business and most especially our customers,” Almeida added.

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“It takes a village to combat cybercrime. And we think that this is a step forward for it,” said Sasa Montesa, Unionbank’s Data Protection Officer.

All data sharing will be secure and encrypted to ensure that only authorized persons will have access to critical information.

“We can quickly try to work with telcos to identify these fraudulent customers who are hiding behind prepaid mobile numbers and identify their profile and patterns so that we can quickly mitigate and avoid this, even warn our customers of these potential scammers,” said Joey Rufo, Chief information Officer of Unionbank.

According to Rufo, online scams are done in three ways:

  • Phishing: e-mails masquerading as official communication from banks so scammers can get information and passwords
  • Vishing: professional-sounding calls that sway customers into disclosing private information or their one-time pin
  • Smishing: text messages with links that gather data needed to access accounts


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So you’ve been scammed. What now?

“At times this could take months because it really has to be the subscriber who initiates the requests from law enforcement or from the courts. It can't be Globe or UnionBank,” Almeida said.

“Sometimes the subscribers, they just give up and they don't pursue it anymore. So I think with this we're going to be helping our subscribers really protect themselves from criminals,” Almeida said.

“We can enable the customers to file the complaint at a much faster [pace] and win with better information night ahead,” Rufo said.

Catching cybercriminals takes time. Since all information is technically protected, victims must assert their claims. Otherwise, banks and telcos are barred from seeking legal action against an individual.

Once a report has been filed, authorized personnel can begin working on providing information and cooperating with regulators, government agencies, and courts to catch the criminal.

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More banks and telcos

“Aside from all of the commercially listed banks and exchanges, we actually already also have partnerships with online retailers like Lazada, Shopee. We're also starting to look at for example, the airline industry, like as they reopen I'm sure they also are a victim of a lot of these scams, if we can help prevent again,” said Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio.

“Hopefully we can have MOAs with everybody that we're currently helping prevention for, so that we can really surge forward the investigation pace, right, start putting people behind bars,” he added.

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