DoT directs telcos to act against international scam callers

  • This crackdown comes amid a noticeable rise in scam calls, with cyber watchdogs reporting increased scam activities across more than 30 nations

Shouvik Das
Updated26 May 2024
Cyber security and forensics experts attribute the surge in international scam calls to the growing number of first-time internet users in India. (File Photo: Mint)
Cyber security and forensics experts attribute the surge in international scam calls to the growing number of first-time internet users in India. (File Photo: Mint)

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said on Sunday that it is collaborating with telecom service providers to block scam calls originating from outside India. This initiative follows the launch of a cyber crime reporting portal by the Centre on 4 March to address the growing issue of scam calls nationwide.

The DoT’s notification targets scam calls where overseas callers impersonate officials and institutions, citing fake digital arrests, FedEx scams, drug/narcotics courier issues, and threats of mobile number disconnections purportedly from DoT or the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

“It has been reported that fraudsters are making international spoofed calls displaying Indian mobile numbers to Indian citizens and committing cyber-crimes and financial frauds. These calls appear to be originating within India but are actually made by cyber-criminals from abroad by manipulating the calling line identity (CLI). Such international spoofed calls have been misused in recent cases,” the ministry of communications said in a statement.

Read This: India launches Chakshu—a platform for reporting fraud calls and texts

In response to such calls, the ministry said, DoT and key telecom operators have developed a system "to identify and block such incoming international spoofed calls from reaching any Indian telecom subscriber. Now, directions have been issued to the service providers for blocking of such incoming international spoofed calls.”

Such callers are already being blocked by the service providers, the ministry added.

This crackdown comes amid a noticeable rise in scam calls, with cyber watchdogs reporting increased scam activities across more than 30 nations. A report by IIT Kharagpur-affiliated Future Crimes Research Foundation (FCRF) in October last year noted that financial gain-driven cyber scams account for nearly 60% of all scams in India, and over 40% of all cyber crimes.

“First-time internet users are the most susceptible to scams due to a lack of awareness, and general fear among users on how things work. For example, if a first-time online banking user is told that their account will be frozen if they do not share a one-time password immediately, they might be inclined to share it—even though they should not," said a senior cyber security official of a homegrown cyber security venture, requesting anonymity.

Experts suggest that addressing these issues requires extensive awareness campaigns and protective measures, especially for early-stage internet users.

Also Read | Mint Primer: How Trai's mandatory call ID will impact Truecaller

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