65 illegal telecoms enabling ‘fraud calls’ blocked this year: Minister tells LS

The Indian government has blocked as many as 65 illegal telecom operations throughout the fiscal year 2023-24, which were enabling fraudulent international calls posing as Indian numbers, Union minister of state for communications Devusinh Chauhan said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The minister also mentioned the blocking of these apps on platforms like Google Play Store and iOS App Store. (Shutterstock)

According to news agency PTI, during the ongoing winter session in the Parliament, Chauhan highlighted that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has taken steps to halt apps facilitating the generation of spoofed calls.

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Additionally, DoT instructed International Long Distance Operators (ILDOs) to reject incoming calls lacking Caller Line Identification (CLI), having improper CLI, or specific prefixes.

The minister also mentioned the blocking of these apps on platforms like Google Play Store and iOS App Store. DoT, in collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies and Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), continues efforts to uncover and dismantle illegal telecom setups enabling international calls with falsified Indian numbers.

International calls with these spoofed Indian landline prefixes banned

The Union minister also disclosed in Parliament the discovery of illegal telecom operations in preceding financial years

“So far, 65 such illegal setups during FY 2023-24, 62 in FY 2022-23 and 35 in FY 2021-2022 have been unearthed,” he said.

“Further, to prevent the incoming international calls with spoofed Indian landline numbers, DoT has directed the ILDO to drop international incoming calls with no CLI, improper CLI or having CLI prefixes such as 11, 011 & 11, 911 to 915,” he informed.

A citizen-oriented Sanchar Saathi portal was introduced by DoT to report incoming international calls with Indian CLI and verify unauthorised mobile connections. The minister said, “13.08 lakh such connections were disconnected after reported cases, ensuring subscriber re-verification.”

The minister emphasised the grave concerns related to these illegal setups, citing their involvement in activities like cybercrimes and financial frauds as well as their role in bypassing ILDOs.

“Telecom Service Providers are disconnecting such reported mobile connections after necessary subscriber reverification. Around 13.08 lakh such mobile connections have been disconnected,” the minister said.

(With PTI inputs)

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