Hong Kong’s telecoms regulator unveiled plans to introduce SMS sender registration to combat fraudulent SMS messages and scams by helping consumers verify the identity of senders.

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) said senders will use registered SMS IDs, with the prefix #, to send text messages to local mobile subscribers, starting with the telecoms sector from 28 December.

An OFCA representative stated the sender registration scheme aims to deter fraudsters from masquerading as telecoms service providers in sending text messages, adding messages with sender ID containing # but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by networks in the territory. 

Mobile subscribers are not required to apply for the service, install any apps or change their handset settings.

OFCA noted it will monitor the scheme and will work with other industries and government departments to encourage additional sectors using SMS to communicate with customers to participate.