SINGAPORE – On January 25, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced that all organizations using alphanumeric Sender IDs (SMS Sender ID) are required to register with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry ( SSIR) to make their IDs visible to Singapore mobile number users.
Organizations that don’t do so will have their SMS messages labeled as “probable scams” for users, starting January 31.
IMDA has stated that this registration is to better protect consumers against “unregistered SMS which may be scams”.
With scams springing up rampant in recent years, and many victims unknowingly falling for phishing scams, this is a great initiative from IMDA to help safeguard Singaporeans and their safety online.
However, this presents some new problems for businesses and also for SMS recipients.
SMS go directly to ‘spam’ or ‘malicious’ folders
For SMS recipients, any type of SMS you receive from companies not registered with SSIR will immediately be tagged as “Like-SCAM” on your mobile phone.
It can come from several different SMS sources, but it will still be grouped in the same SMS chat thread.
This leads to some confusion among users, especially if you receive SMS from legitimate sources that have not registered with SSIR. For example, One Time Password (OTP) requests, package tracking services, and also reward links will be bundled in the same “Likely-SCAM” thread.
This makes it difficult to identify which sources are legitimate and which are not, especially if you are sending without a company name as an identifier in these messages.
Most likely, this SMS thread is automatically sent to your phone’s personal spam folder and won’t even show up in your notifications.
For example, the Google Pixel and Apple line of phones have an auto-filtering system that will put all suspected scam SMS into a “spam” or “malicious” folder, and sometimes automatically without informing the user.
The “Probable-SCAM” thread is most likely leaking into these folders, as it did with my own personal mobile phone when I received these messages.
For business owners who have not registered with SSIR, the interruption of services may be the biggest problem they will face.
When this measure went into effect last month, for whatever reason, Amazon wasn’t registered yet (although they are now). I was constantly requesting my login OTP to be sent to me so I could purchase an item, only to find out much later that it was sent to my “spam” folder multiple times without any notification.
This resulted in me turning to other online retailers to buy what I needed, instead of using Amazon.
Personally, I was also waiting for a parcel delivery SMS for something I bought, which was also sent as “Likely-SCAM”, but I’ve been smart enough to check my “spam” folder from time to time, so that I managed to be home alone in time to receive the delivery.
Confusion if companies do not register under SSIR
As a business owner, if you’ve been relying on SMS as a means of contacting your customers or user base for whatever reason, many of these issues will arise sooner or later if you don’t sign up with SSIR.
This can lead to a confused customer base or even lost revenue due to missed messages.
At worst, some may even think the company is a “scam”, just because it comes from a source labeled “Likely-SCAM”.
Registration with the SSIR can be done by contacting email@example.com or the Singapore Network Information Center.
Businesses will be required to pay a one-time $500 setup fee and $200 per year per Registered Sender ID.
Dominic loves technology and games. When he’s not busy cooling down parts of his computer, he does some professional wrestling.
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