In order to help safeguard SMS as a communication channel, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will make registration with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) mandatory for all organisations that use SMS sender IDs.
The SSIR, which was a voluntary regime, will now be made compulsory from Jan. 31, 2023.
There will be a transition period when messages from non-registered sender IDs will have a "Likely-SCAM" header.
SSIR registration to be made mandatory
The SSIR was implemented in March 2022 to help better protect Singaporeans from spoofed SMS, said IMDA.
All organisations that send SMS to Singapore mobile users with an alphanumeric sender ID must register their sender IDs with the SSIR.
In addition, they are also required only to use SMS service providers or aggregators that are licensed by IMDA and are participating in the SSIR.
With this new measure, only bona fide sender IDs belonging to organisations will be allowed while all other sender IDs will be blocked in the future.
This measure had received strong support from those who participated in a public consultation and serves to enhance our anti-scam capabilities to combat scams via SMS, IMDA said.
SMS with a "Likely-SCAM" header
While organisations take time to prepare and register, messages from non-registered SMS sender IDs will be channelled with the header "Likely-SCAM" from Jan. 31 onwards.
This feature is similar to a "spam filter" and will be in place for around six months. It warns the recipient that the sender has not registered with SSIR and that the message may be a scam.
IMDA advises consumers to be cautious upon receiving SMS that is from non-registered sender IDs.
Merchants are also encouraged to register their sender IDs with SSIR as soon as possible.
IMDA strongly urges recipients of messages from the sender ID "Likely-SCAM" not to click on any links or call any numbers in the message.
All government agencies in Singapore will use registered Sender IDs in their SMS communication. Therefore, their messages will not appear under the "Likely-SCAM" thread.
1,200 organisations registered with SSIR
According to a spokesperson from IMDA, close to 1,200 organisations have registered with the SSIR as of Jan. 2023, a significant increase as compared to Aug. 2022 when only 120 organisations had done so.
These organisations include financial institutions, e-commerce operators, logistic providers and Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that send SMS messages.
Cordlife Group Limited was one of the companies that had their sender ID registered. The registration process started in Sep. 2022 and took about two months to complete.
A spokesperson from Cordlife Group Limited shared that they hoped that by being on the registry, they could protect their clients and give them the confidence and assurance that they are committed to protecting their data.
"It's a great initiative by the government to help protect the interest of Singaporeans and definitely a step in the right direction to countering scams," said the spokesperson.
Committed to fighting against scams
According to police statistics, in the first half of 2022, more than S$227.8 million were lost in 14,349 scam cases.
"Combatting scams is a whole society effort, and the public should continue to remain vigilant," said IMDA.
IMDA warns that scammers would continue to change their methods and tacts so there is no fool-proof measure. IMDA will continue to monitor the situation and implement additional safeguards.
The agency also stresses the importance of a vigilant, educated public regarding scams:
"A discerning public is the key in this fight, where consumers are individually alert and raise collective awareness by sharing scma prevention tips with friends and loved ones."
Top image from Unsplash and IMDA