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Cyber crime: Govt asks telecom operators to block 28,200 handsets and reverify 20 lakh mobile connections

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued directions to telecom service providers for blocking 28,200 mobile handsets and to carryout immediate reverification of 20 lakh mobile connections linked to these mobile handsets across India. If these mobile connections fail in the re-verification, then they will be disconnected as per orders of DoT. The purpose is to ensure a secure digital environment.
This comes after a recent analysis by the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and State Police which has revealed that 28,200 mobile handsets were misused in cybercrimes. The DoT further analyzed and found that a staggering 20 lakh numbers were used with these mobile handsets, as per an official statement.
The Government of India has been persistently making efforts to check cyber frauds under the secure India project at three levels: national, organisational, and individual. DoT, MHA and Police have joined hands for curbing the misuse of telecom resources in cyber crime and financial frauds. This collaborative effort aims to dismantle networks of fraudsters and protect citizens from digital threats.

Mobile connections disconnected

Till 30th April 2024, DoT has disconnected 1.66 crore mobile connections for reasons such as users’ feedback and exceeding the individual limit to buy new SIM cards. DoT has also blocked 1.58 lakh unique mobile device identification number (IMEI), due to involvement in cyber crimes and financial frauds or mobile connections taken on fake or forged documents.
Through digital interventions to combat fraud and crime, the Department of Telecom Services has successfully prevented citizens from losing approximately Rs 1000 crore in last one year.

Cyber crime in India – Where to report

The department of Telecommunication has taken many initiatives to spread awareness so that citizens can make use of such tools for addressing their grievances as well as protect themselves from cyber-frauds.
Anyone who has lost money due to financial fraud or is a victim of cyber-crime, can report at cyber crime helpline number 1930 or website https://www.cybercrime.gov.in.

National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal

Ministry of Home Affairs operationalised the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal www.cybercrime.gov.in to provide a centralized mechanism to the citizens for online reporting of all types of cyber crime incidents, with a special focus on cyber crimes against women and children. Incidents reported on this portal are automatically routed to the State/UT law enforcement agency concerned for taking further steps as per the provisions of the law. A toll-free helpline number ‘1930’ has been operationalized to get assistance in lodging online cyber complaints.

Chakshu Portal

Launched in March this year, the Chakshu portal is a platform developed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to report suspicious communication, such as fraudulent calls, SMS, or messages on social media like WhatsApp. The Chakshu portal introduced under the Sanchar Sathi initiative allows users to report fraudulent activities. These include fraudulent calls, messages regarding lottery or job offers, and potential leaks of phone numbers by businesses.

Digital Intelligence Platform

Another initiative launched by the Government in March this year is the Digital Intelligence Platform, which is a secure and integrated platform for real-time intelligence sharing, information exchange and coordination among the stakeholders, including telecom operators, Law Enforcement Agencies, banks and financial institutions, social media platforms, identity document issuing authorities, among others. The portal also contains information regarding the cases detected as misuse of telecom resources.

Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children Scheme

The Ministry of Home Affairs provides financial assistance under the ‘Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children Scheme, to states and Union Territories for their capacity building such as setting up of cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories, hiring of junior cyber consultants and training of Law Enforcement Agencies’ personnel, public prosecutors and judicial officers. So far, cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories have been commissioned in 33 States/UTs, as per an announcement.