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Government gets strict on pesky calls, mobile frauds; sets up digital intelligence unit

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NEW DELHI: With not much success in controlling pesky calls and financial frauds conducted using mobile networks, the government is getting stricter on the menace and has decided to impose penalty on the tele-marketers while disconnecting their resources in case of repeat violations.
Also, the Centre is setting up a Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) to coordinate with various stakeholders when investigating fraudulent activities that are conducted using telecom resources, communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.
Concerned at the rising instances of unwanted calls, messages and frauds perpetrated through mobile networks, even for those who have registered for the Do-Not Disturb (DND) service, Prasad chaired a high-level meeting to tackle the issue which has been difficult to control so far.
“Clear directions were issued to the officials to take strict and tangible action to stop such activities immediately,” it was decided at the meeting where Prasad directed his team to take stern steps against erring telemarketers and individuals involved in harassment of telecom subscribers.
In the meeting, it was also pointed out that even unregistered tele-marketers were sending commercial communication to the subscribers.
The minister directed telecom ministry officials to conduct a meeting with mobile operators and tele-marketers to apprise them of the seriousness of the issue and to ensure compliance with the laid-down rules and procedures.
For effective handling of Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) and also tackle financial frauds, it was decided to develop a web/mobile application and SMS-based system for redressal mechanism. “This will enable telecom subscribers to lodge their complaints related to matters involving UCC,” the government said.
Apart from the DIU, the government will also establish a Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) system in mobile service areas to tackle the problem.
As the country worked from home and businesses and offices conducted operations out of office, the cases of phishing attacks have been on the rise. Apart from pesky calls, there have been growing instances of mobile/internet subscribers being duped in the name of job portals, online shopping, digital banking, and coronavirus updates.
The government recently informed the Parliament that over 2.9 lakh cyber security incidents related to digital banking were reported in 2020.
The cases, as per the information sourced from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), grew from nearly 1.6 lakh incidents in 2018, to about 2.5 lakh in 2019, and thereafter to 2.9 lakh last year.
The incidents included phishing attacks, network scanning and probing, viruses and website hacking, the government said in Rajya Sabha earlier this month.

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