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In attempt to curb online scams, major telcos no longer allow URL links in SMS

May 2, 2023

Starting the 2nd of May, four major telcos in Malaysia will block all short message service (SMS) that contain URLs from being sent or received.

The four telcos are Maxis, Celcom, Digi, and U-Mobile.

This was done in compliance to what the Ministry of Communications and Digital had instructed just a month ago. The directive was made in an attempt to curb malicious online scams.

In an interview last month, Deputy Minister Teoh Nie Ching told Bernama that the “MCMC has given this directive to telco companies to ensure that no one presses the wrong URL and possibly end up as victims (scam). Several online scams happen when people click on the wrong link, and after giving their personal information, they find themselves being scammed.”

According to the Maxis FAQ page, the blocking of SMS with URLs is applicable to both local and international numbers. It will rollout in phases, starting first with person-to-person SMS.

Screenshot of Maxis FAQ page regarding blocking of URLs in SMS

SMSes with URLs sent by businesses via short codes such as 6XXXX, 2XXXX and 1XXXX will be done at later stages.

Online scams have been rampant in recent years. In August 2022, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) reported a total of 48,850 online scams from 2020 until May 2022.

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