Published: 11:39, January 2, 2024 | Updated: 17:49, January 2, 2024
Hong Kong police enhance scam intervention with text alerts
By Wang Zhan

In addition to contacting potential victims via phone calls or police visits, the Anti-Deception Coordination Centre of the Hong Kong Police Force will expand its prevention efforts to include sending SMS alerts to provide timely warnings starting Jan 2, 2024. (GRAPHIC / HKSAR GOVT)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong's police on Tuesday expanded their anti-scam drive by sending text messages to potential scam victims as a means to provide them with timely alerts and advice on combatting and reporting deception.

The Hong Kong Police Force’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre, which is already registered with the Office of the Communications Authority’s short message service sender registration scheme, will send the messages under its registered SMS sender ID "#ADCC18222".

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The goal behind expanding the Upstream Scam Intervention scheme is to combat deception and minimize its impact on individuals and society, the force said in a statement on Monday.

Launched in May 2023 in collaboration with 12 retail banks, the Upstream Scam Intervention scheme identifies individuals who may be at risk of falling victim to scams by analyzing suspicious bank accounts.

As of end-November last year, 579 ongoing deception cases were intervened under the scheme

Reminding members of the public that phishing or malicious messages often contain hyperlinks, QR codes or attachments for installing malicious software on victims’ devices to steal sensitive information, the ADCC urged them to be cautious.

Through coordinated efforts between the banks and police, potential victims will be contacted via phone calls, police visits or SMS, according to the statement. 

During such interactions, the ADCC or bank officers will provide potential victims with information such as details of the implicated bank accounts so as to facilitate the potential victims’ verification and assessment.

This phone screenshot shows a notification of a text message alert from the Hong Kong Police Force’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre on investment scams on Jan 1, 2024. (SHAMIM ASHRAF / CHINA DAILY)

As of end-November last year, 579 ongoing deception cases were intervened under the scheme, according to the HKPF.

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Police reminded the residents that officers and bank staff will never request the disclosure of personal information or banking credentials, or ask users to transfer funds to any accounts during such interactions.

To verify callers’ identities, the public can call their banks or the ADCC directly. They have also been encouraged to use the Scameter to check if the recipient bank accounts are associated with reported scams.