Mobile users beware! Fraud callers pose as DoT officials, threaten to disconnect number to steal your info

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New Delhi: The telecom department has warned phone users against a new scam involving fraudsters aim to steal sensitive personal information by posing as Department of Teleco officials threatening to disconnect their mobile phone connection, according to an official statement. These calls are made using WhatsApp calls from unknown numbers of foreign origin with refixes such as +92.

The spammers also threaten users about alleged misuse of their number for unlawful activities. “Cybercriminals through such calls try to threaten/steal personal information to carry out cyber-crime/financial frauds,” the DoT said.

The telecom department clarified that it does not authorise officials to call people on its behalf. It advised citizens against sharing any personal information with callers who call from suspicious numbers. The DoT also advised citizens to report such instances using the Chakshu facility on the Sanchar Saathi portal. “Such proactive reporting helps the DoT in prevention of misuse of telecom resources for cyber-crime, financial frauds, etc,” it said.

Report any Suspected Fraud Communication at #Chakshu.#SancharSaathi#BeSafe #BeAlert

👉https://t.co/Ziv4eUbi9y https://t.co/jzPjSOYlKc

— DoT India (@DoT_India) March 28, 2024

DoT directs telcos to deactivate USSD calls

The telecom department on Friday directed telecom operators to stop using USSD-based call forwarding effective April 15, 2024 to check fraud. However, telcos may use alternative means restart this facility, the DoT said.

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data or USSD allows mobile phone users to access a facility by dialling a code on their phone. This method is also used to check a handset’s IMEI number. USSD services are also called *401# services.

However, there have been instances of misuse of the facility by fraudsters, according to the DoT. “In this regard, it has been decided by the competent authority that all licensees shall discontinue the existing USSD-based call forwarding services with effect from April 15, 2024, till further notice,” the DoT said.

To prevent fraud, phone users will be able to choose whether they wish to reactivate the USSD facility, the department added.

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