SINGAPORE — On January 25, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced that all organizations using Alphanumeric Sender IDs (SMS Sender IDs) must register with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) to have their IDs visible. for mobile number users in Singapore.
Organizations that fail to do so will label their text messages as “probable scams” to users starting January 31.
IMDA has stated that this registration is to better protect consumers against “unregistered text messages that may be scams”.
With scams running rampant in recent years and many victims falling unknowingly into phishing scams, this is a great initiative from IMDA to help protect Singaporeans and their online safety.
However, this introduces some new problems for businesses and SMS recipients as well.
Text messages go straight to ‘spam’ or ‘malicious’ folders
For SMS recipients, any kind of SMS you receive from companies not registered under SSIR will be immediately labeled as “Likely SCAM” on your mobile phone.
It may come from different SMS sources, but it will still be grouped in the same SMS chat thread.
This creates some confusion for users, especially if you receive text messages from legitimate sources that have not registered with SSIR. For example, One Time Password (OTP) requests, package tracking services and also reward links will all be bundled under the same “Likely-SCAM” thread.
This makes it difficult to determine which sources are legitimate and which are not, especially if sent without a company name as an identifier in these messages.
It’s more likely that this text message 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 phones have a self-filtering system that places all suspected scam text messages in a “spam” or “malicious” folder, sometimes automatically without notifying the user.
The “Likely-SCAM” thread will most likely be filtered into these folders, as it happened with my own personal cell phone when I received these messages.
For business owners who have not registered with SSIR, service disruption may be the biggest problem they will face.
When this measure went into effect last month, for some reason Amazon was not yet registered (it is now). I constantly asked for my login OTP to be sent to me so I can 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 going to other online retailers to buy what I needed, instead of using Amazon.
I was also personally waiting for a parcel delivery text message for something I purchased which was also sent as “Probably SCAM” but I’ve been wise enough to check my “spam” folder now and then so I managed to just be home in time to receive the delivery.
Confusion if companies fail to register under SSIR
As a business owner, if you rely on text messages as a means of contacting your customers or users for any reason, many of these issues will come to light sooner or later if you don’t register under SSIR.
This can lead to a confused customer base or even lost sales due to missed messages.
At worst, some may even think the company is a “scam” just because it comes from a source labeled “Probably-SCAM”.
Registration with the SSIR can be done by contacting email@example.com or the Singapore Network Information Centre.
Businesses must pay a one-time setup fee of $500 and $200 per registered sender ID per year.
Dominic loves technology and games. When he’s not water-cooling his computer components, he’s into professional wrestling.
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