Government Launches Comprehensive Crackdown on Fraudulent Phone Calls, Enforces Ban on Bulk SIM Card Connections

In a resolute bid to combat the escalating menace of fraudulent phone calls and telecom-related fraud, the Indian government has undertaken a series of robust measures, including the blocking of thousands of fraudulent WhatsApp accounts and the prohibition of bulk SIM card connections. Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently unveiled these groundbreaking initiatives, underlining the government's commitment to securing the nation's telecommunications landscape.

http://<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">VIDEO | "Earlier, people used to buy (mobile) SIM cards in bulk. There was a provision for this to buy SIM cards in bulk. However, it has been decided to end this provision. Instead, we will bring a proper business connection provision which will help in stopping fraudulent… <a href="https://t.co/uzaxs1iv1m">pic.twitter.com/uzaxs1iv1m</a></p>— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) <a href="https://twitter.com/PTI_News/status/1692113969287246112?ref_src=twsrc^tfw">August 17, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Addressing a press conference, Minister Vaishnaw revealed that a staggering 66,000 fraudulent WhatsApp accounts have been blocked as part of the government's ongoing efforts to curb the proliferation of fraudulent activities. Additionally, the government has taken stringent action by blacklisting 67,000 SIM card dealers found to be involved in dubious dealings. The authorities have initiated a total of 300 First Information Reports (FIRs) against fraudsters and have successfully blocked a whopping 8 lakh payment wallet accounts responsible for facilitating fraudulent transactions.

These proactive measures come on the heels of the government's launch of the innovative Sanchar Sarthi portal earlier this year, specifically designed to tackle the increasing cases of telecom-related fraud. The portal acts as a central hub for reporting and addressing fraudulent activities, thereby providing an effective platform for both the government and citizens to collaborate in the fight against fraud.

One of the standout actions taken by the government is the prohibition of bulk SIM card connections. This decision was prompted by the prevalent practice of utilizing "SIM boxes" to facilitate automated calls, enabling fraudsters to exploit large numbers of SIM cards for illicit purposes. Minister Vaishnaw explained that this move was made to replace the bulk connection system with a more stringent process for legitimate business connections. This will entail individual Know Your Customer (KYC) verifications for each employee within a company acquiring SIM cards. The emphasis on individual KYC procedures seeks to prevent the misuse of SIM cards by ensuring traceability and accountability for every connection.

Minister Vaishnaw pointed out the shortcomings in the current practices of SIM card dealers, stressing that they often circumvent the required verification processes and hastily distribute SIM cards. To rectify this issue, the government has mandated police verification for point-of-sale dealers as well as registration to ensure their credibility and adherence to the law.

The comprehensive crackdown on fraudulent phone calls and the strict regulations imposed on SIM card distribution signify the government's unwavering commitment to securing the nation's communication networks. These measures are poised to significantly curtail fraudulent activities and enhance the overall integrity of India's telecommunications infrastructure, thereby safeguarding citizens from potential threats and preserving the sanctity of communicationchannels.

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