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Crackdown on Fraudulent SMS Under Sanchar Saathi Initiative

In a concerted effort to combat the rising threat of fraudulent SMS, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, has launched the Sanchar Saathi Initiative. This initiative aims to tackle the proliferation of deceptive messages targeting unsuspecting mobile users. Notably, the government has identified and blocked eight SMS headers frequently exploited by cybercriminals.

DoT’s Vigorous Action

Over the past three months, DoT has intercepted more than 10,000 fraudulent messages originating from eight distinct entities. To thwart these nefarious activities, DoT has taken decisive measures, blacklisting 73 SMS headers and 1522 SMS content templates associated with these entities.

Restrictions on Telemarketing

In adherence to regulations, mobile numbers are strictly prohibited for telemarketing purposes. DoT has designated specific prefixes, 180 and 140, for legitimate telemarketing endeavors. Any misuse of consumer numbers for telemarketing can result in immediate disconnection upon the first complaint. Furthermore, offenders risk being blacklisted by DoT for a two-year period.

Sanchar Saathi Initiative Overview

Launched by Union Communication Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in May 2023, the Sanchar Saathi Initiative is designed to empower mobile subscribers, raise awareness about government initiatives, and bolster security measures. Noteworthy modules include:

Chakshu Facility for Reporting Fraudulent Communications

Citizens can utilize the Chakshu module to report suspicious calls or messages, encompassing cybercrime, financial fraud, fake lottery schemes, and fraudulent job offers.

Centralised Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)

Mobile users can report lost or stolen devices by registering their 15-digit IMEI numbers on CEIR. Once verified, the system blocks these devices from accessing Indian networks, mitigating unauthorized usage.

ASTR for SIM Subscriber Verification

To combat the misuse of forged documents for obtaining mobile connections, ASTR, an AI-based solution, has been deployed. This tool identifies SIMs acquired through fraudulent means, enhancing verification processes and curbing illicit activities associated with mobile connections.

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