BSNL warns users about SMS frauds, asks not to give out personal information

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Government-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) issued a notice alerting its users about recent SMS frauds. BSNL warned users to not give out personal information to fraudsters who are retrieving information in the garb of BSNL employees asking for KYC details failing which their BSNL SIM will be suspended. BSNL then noted that the fraudsters are using KYC details through SMS to withdraw money from a customer’s bank account. The headers of these spam messages read like ‘CP-SMSFST, AD-VIRINF, CP-BLMKND, and BP-ITLINN’. The development was first reported by Telecom Talk.

SMS headers or senders ID is a combination of six characters that represent the company name of the message sender. The new SMS rules introduced in 2018, were implemented by telecom operators from March 8, 2021, leading to delays in SMS and OTP generation affecting net banking, Aadhaar-enabled transactions, railway ticket bookings, and vaccine registrations.

Last month, the Delhi High Court had reportedly directed TRAI to enforce Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), which was designed to stop the problem of ‘unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) or spam call and messages,’ to prevent frauds that take place through SMS. In February, Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, in a meeting had noted that telecom resources are being used to carry out financial frauds and dupe the common man.

Officials had pointed out that even the subscribers registered in Do-Not-Disturb (DND) service continue to receive commercial communication from Registered Tele-Marketers (RTMs) and further Unregistered Tele-Marketers (UTMs) are also sending commercial communication to the subscribers. As per TRAI’s new rules, all SMS messages have to be verified before they reach the users and all messages have to be registered in the TRAI DLT platform. These include communication messages like OTP, verification codes, notifications sent by businesses to their customers, etc.

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In the meeting, it was also proposed to impose financial penalties against the telemarketers including disconnection of resources in case of repetitive violations. Further, an SMS-based system where users can complain about frauds was also proposed along with a Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) to coordinate with various stakeholders in investigating fraudulent activity involving telecom resources.