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India launches ‘Chakshu’ to report fraudulent calls, messages


The Indian government has launched a new service that enables internet users to report suspicious calls and messages.

Named Chakshu, the service is already accessible on the Sanchar Sathi portal of the Department of Telecommunications. Through this service, users can now report suspected fraudulent communications received via calls, SMS, or WhatsApp with the intention of defrauding.

These frauds could be things like KYC expiry or update of bank account / payment wallet / SIM / gas connection / electricity connection, sextortion, impersonation as government official / relative for sending money, disconnection of all mobile numbers by Department of Telecommunications etc.

The portal also reminds users, already a victim of cybercrime or financial fraud, to report it on the cyber-crime helpline number 1930 or the official website.

To report on Chakshu, users can click here, and provide requisite information such as medium of communication  (call, text or WhatsApp), attach a screenshot, number from which communication received, and others.

Note, if you select WhatsApp, the website shows a pop up: “You are advised to report the communication on WhatsApp also, as per its policy.”

Chakshu joins the set of initiatives the government and the telecom industry have been taking to tackle the menace of financial fraud, spam, and other cybercrimes. Back in August 2023, the government revealed it had deployed a tool called ASTR (an acronym for Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification) to assess more than 87 crore mobile connections in its ‘first phase’. The objective is to curb the menace of bad actors acquiring mobile connections through fake documents.

ALSO READ: WhatsApp lets you silence unknown callers on the app

Separately, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended telecom service providers to use the Calling Name Presentation (CNAP). This essentially means the recipient will see the name of the caller. The objective of the recommendation is to tackle spam and fraud calls.

The TRAI in its paper noted that smartphone users currently bank on third-party apps like TrueCaller or smartphone makers’ native tools (Apple’s silence unknown callers, Google’s caller ID and spam).

“Generally, native smartphone tools and third-party apps provide name identification services based on crowd-sourced data. However, the crowd-sourced name identity information may not be reliable, in many instances,” the regulator noted.

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