A short message server (SMS) is provided with memory for storing short messages, and a SMS gateway/interworking (processing) block. The SMS accepts all properly formatted incoming messages, and queries an HLR database for destination information as well as to determine whether the destination of each incoming message is valid and authorized. If the destination is either not valid or not authorized, the SMS sends an error message to the originator, and effectively deletes the message from its memory. Where the destination is valid and authorized, the message is forwarded towards its destination. The SMS specifically does not include a subscriber database, and instead relies on the communication with the HLR and its subscriber database to provide the necessary information. Communication between the SMS and the HLR is preferably via the GSM MAP (mobile application part) protocol.