Imagine this scenario: You are preparing or in the middle of something very important like a business meeting. All of a sudden, you receive an SMS that reads: “Are you in need of a personal loan for spass in singapore or work permit loan singapore quickly. One without payslips or minimum salary requirement? We give a wide range of loans from personal loan to payday loan to those who are in need. Get in touch for more information on how to receive these loans”.
It is a message promoting loan commodities, right? So you choose to ignore it completely. However, after a while, you start receiving the same SMSs more frequently, for instance, on a weekly basis. At this point, you feel uncomfortable and annoyed with these messages. You need to work out a solution which does not include having to purchase a different number.
The government of Singapore has always put measures to secure your personal data. However, there are loopholes within the system and there is no guarantee that you will not receive marketing messages that you have not requested for once in a while. What may make it even worse? As opposed to email messages which you can unsubscribe from, it is impossible to unsubscribe from messages received through SMS and Whatsapp. Moreover, some of these messages originate from numbers registered overseas and in some cases the numbers may not be shown together with the message.
However, there are practical remedies to these problems, including reporting the disturbing SMSs to the relevant authorities:
Step 1: Register to Registry that prevents such message from coming to your phone
Singapore numbers registered with Do Not Call (DNC) Registry are exempted from receiving marketing messages that they do not want. With the authority of Singapore’s PDPC, business organizations are not allowed to send marketing messages to numbers registered to DNC in Singapore. This covers all the numbers which may include mobile phones, residential, fixed-line as well as business numbers. However, this regulation does not include those organizations with an active relationship with the subscriber with the telephone number used in Singapore. Such organizations can send the marketing messages promoting the commodities they offer without having to confirm if the number is on the DNC registry.
The Singapore numbers which can still receive these messages include those who may have registered using their personal phone numbers for a given competition or those who filled a given registration form given by these organizations giving their numbers. The organizations are permitted to contact you under such circumstances. These messages must, however, give you an option to opt out of these messages when you are no longer interested in receiving them. After unsubscribing from these messages, The organizations must stop sending you the messages after 30 days. This basically means that the relationship has been terminated.
There are three DNC registers you can opt for depending on what you want:
a) A register that prevents voice calls to you.
b) A register that prevents the organizations from sending you any text message.
c) A register that prohibits such organizations from sending you fax messages.
Step 2: It is improper to reply to shark SMS
Resist the urge to reply to these loan Shark SMSs that you are not interested in to begin with. This is more so those that are related to giving loans and other financial assistance as well as those that promote online gambling. Most of the time, the messages do not originate from any licensed money lender. In most circumstances, they are often from money lenders operating illegally.
Step 3: Report loan shark SMSs to the relevant authorities
You may decide to take these messages lightly or completely ignore them in some cases. However, there may be those cases where you keep receiving these messages for a long period of time. The frequency may also keep increasing causing even more discomfort to you. It is at this point that you need to lodge a formal complain to the police. This can be done by contacting the Council concerned with prevention of crime through their X Ah Long hotline which is 1800-924-5664. You also have an option of providing information through I-Witness.
Action should be taken against those who send these unsolicited messages to you.
Step 4: Have a Whitelist in your mobile phone device
The procedure for doing this will vary from one device to another. These processes are explained below depending on the device that you use:
For an iOS device
In this case, you have an option of blocking those contacts you do not want to contact you through your device. You can also create a whitelist which contains your favorite contacts that are allowed and approved to contact you at any time. To have a whitelist, you need to select your favorite contacts and then switch the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode on for the device you are using.
This ensures you are not contacted by any number that is not in your favorite list. However, this may present another problem. You may not receive calls from organizations that may include genuine financial institutions or those offering employment opportunities since they are not part of your whitelist as much as they are not spam either. It is also important to contact apple through their email address. As you do this, give detailed information for prompt action to be taken. The details you need to give to them include:
- A screenshot that confirms that you actually received the message.
- Provide the email or phone number from which the imessage was received.
- The date and exact time when the imessage was received.
For an Android device
The android messaging app that is in-built in your device is made in such a way that it has the capability to filter spam messages from being received by your device. The activation process must be followed. This procedure requires that you tap and hold on the particular message from a given contact. You will then be given options to choose from. These options include to archive the message and delete the message.It also allows you to block the sender of the message. Choose the one that is appropriate given your circumstances.
In addition, there are also those applications offered by third parties which enable a device user to block spam messages from their devices. However, the most important point is to ensure you do not engage messages originating from such numbers. Report these SMSs as soon as possible. Whatsapp messenger also gives you an option to block such numbers. Make use of such capabilities.
Stay alert! Do always keep a look out for these SMSes and do not loan from loan sharks! Licensed money lenders DO NOT send you text messages and ask if you need a loan. Should you ever need urgently, you can always approach banks and licensed money lenders in Singapore. They offer wide spectrum of loan such as personal loan, payday loan, short term business loan and even work permit foreigner loan. Don’t fret as these moneylenders are approved by the government, you may wish to check the Registry of Moneylenders to find out more.