Malaysian telcos have started banning SMS links, as part of the MCMC’s initiative to prevent scams! Here is what you need to know!
Malaysian Telcos Ban SMS Links To Prevent Scams!
On Tuesday, 2 May 2023, four Malaysian telcos – Maxis, Celcom, Digital and U Mobile started banning SMS links, as part of the MCMC’s initiative to prevent scams.
From this day onwards, users will be blocked from sending or receiving SMS with a link. MCMC had earlier issued the directive to all telcos on February 14, 2023, but the ban on SMS links is only now being implemented.
The ban on SMS links is currently not mandatory for all telcos, and is being implemented in phases. Currently, the ban is limited to SMS between individuals.
Businesses using short codes like 6XXXX, 2XXXX and 1XXXX will eventually be banned from including a URL link in their SMS messages. They will be given time to switch to other methods to send promotional messages with links to their customers.
The MCMC has issued a directive to all telcos to block sending and receiving of SMS with URL link. The objective is to prevent users from becoming victims of online scams
MCMC issued the directive to all service providers on Feb 14 and is currently assessing the progress. For now, the block is still not mandatory.
The blocking of person-to-person SMS with URL links will take effect from 2 May 2023. For SMS sent by business via short codes such as 6XXXX, 2XXXX and 1XXXX, this will be done later and specific notification to business users will be sent.
Malaysia Deputy Communications and Digital Minister Teo Nie Ching said in February 2023 that blocking such SMS links will ensure that people won’t click on them and possibly end up as a scam victim.
Recommended : Scam Alert : Watch Out For Telegram Phishing Attack!
Only SMS Links Banned, Links Via Other Platforms Still A Risk
While this measure is really helpful in reducing scams, the ban is limited to SMS links. Scammers can still send links through instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, etc.
That does not mean that links are inherently bad. Links in messages, even SMS messages, are mostly safe.
- Clicking on a link to read an article / terms and conditions of a promotion
- Clicking on a link to enrol in a promotion which does not require you to log into any website
- Clicking on a link to check in for a flight, or get a travel update
However, they can be used to send you to a phishing website which is designed to look like a genuine bank / payment website. Hence, it is critical that you should NEVER log into any website through a link.
NEVER DO THIS
- Clicking on a link to log into a bank website
- Clicking on a link to make a purchase or payment
- Clicking on a link to log into any account / email
Phishing attacks work by tricking you into going into a fake website that looks like the real website. But you still have to log into the fake website to give the scammers your login details.
If you click on a link, and you are asked to login – this is likely a phishing attack. But don’t worry – as long as you refuse to log into any website after clicking on a link, the phishing attack fails.
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