New DoT Circular Makes Blacklisting Scammers Easier, Local SPs To Helm

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New DoT Circular Makes Blacklisting Scammers Easier, Local SPs To Helm

| Updated: March 12, 2023 13:59

In a bid to curb the rising incidence of frauds committed using dubious phone numbers, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) issued a new circular about a fortnight ago. Accordingly, fraudulent mobile numbers used by phone scammers can be struck off/blocked if the local Superintendent of Police (SP) provides such the same the DoT nodal officer. 

The new rule will help the police bypass an elaborate re-verification process initiated by the DoT whenever a list of recommended blacklisted numbers was sent to the DoT.  The circular, however, states that if an official lower than the rank of an SP sent the list, the re-verification process would be followed.

Because of extensive phone frauds, subscribers were now reluctant to provide their KYC (know your customer) details whenever a genuine telecom service provider called up for re-verification. This left the service providers with no option except sending someone physically to the location of the subscriber, which was proving to be a costlier affair, explained a senior police official.

Since 2020, nearly 1.27 lakh gullible citizens from the state have lost Rs 814.81 crore of hard-earned money and life savings to phone scamming cyber criminals. In the past three years, the CID Crime cybercell unit has reported 30,019 mobile numbers used by scammers to the DoT to be blocked.

So, for every five people conned in an hour, only one “fraud” mobile number is blocked, making controlling cybercrime a Himalayan task. In 2022, the DoT took down some 1,500 pan-India mobile phone numbers reported from Gujarat. According to CID crime officials, most of these numbers were registered in Mewat, Alwar, Bharatpur, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Nadia and rural areas of West Bengal.

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