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Unsolicited calls: Telecom Minister directs officials to take strict action against fraudsters

A nodal agency Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) to be set up to coordinate with various stakeholders in investigating fraudulent activity including unsolicited calls and messages despite DND

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad gets strict over unsolicited calls and messages (File Photo)
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad gets strict over unsolicited calls and messages (File Photo)

New Delhi: A high-level meeting chaired by Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday with the objective to address the rising concern and irritation of consumers over unsolicited messages on mobile phones, repeated harassment through SMS, promising fraudulent loan transactions and above all make the digital transaction safe and secure. Secretary (Telecom), Member (Telecom) and DDG (Access Service) also attended the meeting.

In the meeting, Prasad directed the officials to take strict action against erring telemarketers and individuals involved in harassment of telecom subscribers. The method of harassment includes unsolicited commercial messages or calls. Further, the Minister observed that telecom resources are also being used to carry out financial frauds and dupe the common man of his hard-earned money. Clear directions were issued to the officials to take strict and tangible action to stop such activities immediately.

Officials pointed out that even the subscribers registered in Do-Not-Disturb (DND) service continue to receive commercial communication from Registered Tele-Marketers (RTMs) and further Unregistered Tele-Marketers (UTMs) are also sending commercial communication to the subscribers.

Minister of Communication directed the officials of DoT to conduct a meeting with Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and Tele-Marketers to apprise them of the seriousness of the issue and to ensure the compliance of laid down rules and procedures in this regard. In case of any violation, it was proposed to impose Financial penalty against the telemarketers including disconnection of resources in case of repetitive violations.

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It was decided that for effective handling of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)and also the financial frauds being done through misuse of telecom resources,a web/ mobile application and SMS based system shall be developed for redressal mechanism. This will enable telecom subscribers to lodge their complaints related to matters involving UCC.

Minister also directed to devise special strategies including blocking of telecom operations due to rising concern in Jamtara and Mewat region for curbing of fraudulent activities involving usage of telecom resources.

The officials apprised Minister that for UCC and financial fraud-related complaints, time is of the utmost essence and quick time-bound action will help in reducing such menace. Accordingly, a Nodal agency, named Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU)will be set up. The main function of DIU will be to coordinate with various LEAs, Financial Institutions and telecom service providers in investigating any fraudulent activity involving telecom resources. At the License Service Area level, Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) system will also be created.

The above system will strengthen the trust of people in the digital ecosystem and will make financial digital transactions primarily through mobile more secure and reliable, which will result in the promotion of Digital India.

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