Reduce the impact of Smishing & Spoofing by SMS through industry collaboration

Text messaging scams which trick consumers into sending money or sharing their account details with fraudsters are known as ‘Smishing’ (or phishing by SMS). Criminals send bogus texts which appear to come from a trusted sender.

MEF’s SMS SenderID Protection Registry was established to automate cross-stakeholder processes to reliably and quickly share information to facilitate an orchestrated blocking system. The online platform helps identify and block fraudulent SMS texts, protecting consumers, legitimate businesses and organisations falling victim to text messaging scams. It enables organisations to register the message headers used when sending text messages to their customers and limits the ability of fraudsters to impersonate a brand by checking whether the sender is the genuine registered party.

UK Trial + Going Global

In 2018, a cross-sector working group was set up to take a collaborative industry approach to tackling consumer fraud. As part of a market education and industry programme, in 2019, MEF became the independent secretariat of a trial of a Proof of Concept for an SMS SenderID Protection Registry.

In 2021 there are more than 70 bank and Government brands being protected by the Registry, with over 24 banks and Government agencies directly participating and 352 trusted SenderIDs registered to date. Over 1500 unauthorised variants are being blocked on an ever-growing blacklist, including 300 senderIDs relating to the Government’s Coronavirus campaign.

In April 2020 the Registry supported an industry effort to prevent fraudsters sending scam text messages that seek to exploit the Covid-19 crisis. Read the full details here.

The trial also has the support of the UK’s leading messaging providers including BT’s Smart Messaging Business, Commify, Dynamic Mobile Billing, Firetext, Fonix Mobile, IMImobile, Infobip/OpenMarket, mGage, Reach-Interactive, SAP Digital Interconnect a division of SAP, Sinch, TeleSign, Twilio and Vonage. The cross-stakeholder working group has seen a significant drop in fraudulent messages being sent to the UK consumers of the participating merchants.

Following the success in the UK, the Ireland SMS SenderID Protection Registry was launched on 1st July 2021. Supported by all 3 MNO’s, 9 Merchants – 3 major Government agencies + Banks, Retailers & Utilities from commencement.

The Singapore SMS SenderID Protection Registry launch followed shortly after on 2nd August 2021.

With strong interest from numerous other territories we are optimistic further Registries will soon follow.

Find out More

MEF’s SMS SenderID Protection Registry enables all stakeholders to collaborate in a coordinated effort to combat smishing & spoofing. If you want to find out more about the UK trial results or want to understand how it can help MNOs, merchants and messaging providers in other markets then please get in touch today.

Combatting Fraud: reducing the impact of Smishing & Spoofing by SMS through industry collaboration and consumer awareness.

Industry collaboration: MNOs, banks, government agencies and messaging providers with a direct connection can sign-up to the registry

Cross Sector Working Group:members of Mobile UK (MNOs), UK Finance (banks), MEF (messaging and solution providers) and the National Cyber Security Centre (Government agencies)

Alphatag SenderID : automated cross-stakeholder processes reliably and quickly share information in order to orchestrate blocking via whitelist and blacklist of alphanumeric short codes.

Read more

SMS SenderID Protection Registry announced to tackle SMS fraud

November 27, 2018

Industries unite to tackle SMS fraudsters exploiting COVID-19 texts

April 22, 2020

Industry views: A collaborative approach to tackling Smishing

June 17, 2020