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Relief from fake international phone calls soon, govt issues instructions

In a move to curb widespread cyber fraud targeting citizens, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued new directives to telecom service providers to block malicious international calls that appear to come from Indian mobile numbers.

The order comes in the wake of a surge in reports of fraudsters making international calls to Indians while displaying local mobile numbers through caller ID spoofing. This tactic has enabled scammers to impersonate government agencies, law enforcement, courier companies and financial institutions in carrying out numerous frauds and extracting money from unsuspecting victims.

“We have observed a disturbing trend of cyber criminals using telecommunications networks to make fake calls from international locations, but with the calling line identity manipulated to show Indian mobile numbers,” a senior DoT official stated. “This undermines cyber safety and enables financial fraud on an unprecedented scale.”

Some of the recent scams involving such fake international calls include fake digital arrests, FedEx impersonations, fake drugs or contraband seizure calls, as well as fraudsters posing as DoT, TRAI officials threatening to disconnect mobile connections.

To combat this emerging threat, the DoT has directed all telecom operators to implement a comprehensive screening system that can identify international calls masquerading as Indian mobile numbers. Any such identified calls will be automatically blocked from reaching Indian telecom subscribers.

“User safety and security is a key pillar of our Digital India vision. While we have the Sancharsathi portal and other initiatives for public awareness, these fraudsters keep finding new ways to deceive people,” the official added. “This new telecom security measure will effectively cut off a major channel being exploited by cyber criminals.”

The DoT has urged the public to remain vigilant against any calls claiming to be from government agencies demanding money or action, and to immediately report such instances on the Chakshu grievance platform launched earlier this year.

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Last Updated: 15th Jun 2024