Centre Rolls Out ‘Sanchar Saathi’ To Help Prevent Digital Fraud
Centre on Tuesday launched ‘Sanchar Saathi’ portal to prevent various frauds such as identity theft, forged KYC and banking frauds which can take place by misusing mobile phones.
The artificial-intelligence backed portal launched by Department Telecommunications (DoT) will allow tracking and blocking of lost and stolen mobile phones.
If a device is stolen, a user can submit his/her device’s IMEI numbers on the portal which is verified by the Sanchar Saathi system and blocked. The system will notify Law Enforcement Agencies if anyone tries to use the stolen device, enabling device tracking.
Once the device is recovered, a user can unlock the device via the portal.
The government said that Sanchar Saathi portal has helped identify more than 40 lakh fraudulent connections and more than 36 Lakh such connections have been disconnected so far.
“The various modules of the portal, such as CEIR and TAFCOP with features like Know your Mobile and use of ASTR will help in reducing the incidents of mobile phone thefts and detect anomalies to help identify and prevent misuse/frauds. Citizens will be able to know the mobile connections issued in their name, get unrequired connections disconnected, block/trace lost mobile phones and check the genuineness of devices while buying a new/old mobile phone,” said Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI.
The Sanchar Saathi portal also allows the government to deactivate fraudulent WhatsApp accounts. This will be crucial as the frequency of spam calls have risen exponentially in the last one month in India with people reporting getting calls from unknown international numbers including +251 (Ethiopia), +60 (Malaysia), +62 (Indonesia), +254(Kenya) and +84 (Vietnam).
“We have actively engaged with WhatsApp and they have agreed that customer safety is most important. All the OTT platforms have cooperated and they are on board to deregister users who have been detected as fraud users,” Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Tuesday.
In a statement, WhatsApp said, “With reference to the recent endorsement (at the Press Conference for the launch of Sanchar Saathi portal) from Shri. Ashwini Vaishnaw, Hon’ble Minister of Railways; Communications; and Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, about WhatsApp’s cooperation with the Government to ensure customer safety, we are grateful for the Minister’s acknowledgement of WhatsApp’s continuous commitment to user safety.”
“We have been actively engaging with the Government to consistently ensure a safe and secure user experience, including weeding out bad-actors from the platform,” it added.
A new report ‘The Anatomy of Fraud 2023’ revealed that Indian businesses will invest USD 7.6 billion in fraud detection and prevention (FDP) solutions by 2027. The total addressable FDP market was over USD 1.5 billion in 2022 and will grow at a CAGR of 37 per cent.
The market will grow as India’s internet user base increases to about 1,144 billion internet users by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5 per cent. With this, volume of digital transactions is also expected to reach to more than 1.9 trillion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of about 74 per cent.
“On behalf of the Indian telecom industry, we welcome the launch of the Sanchar Saathi portal and congratulate the Government on taking this citizen-centric initiative that will go a long way in empowering mobile subscribers across the country and ensuring the safety and security of their mobile devices,” the COAI DG added, welcoming the move.