Chandigarh (The Hawk): Union Minister for Communications, Railways and Electronics & IT, Ashwini Vaishnaw today launched ‘Sanchar Saathi’ Portal Virtually at Punjab LSA, Dept of Telecommunication, Mohali.
“With 117 Cr subscribers, India has emerged as the second largest telecom ecosystem in the world. In addition to communication, mobile phones are being used for banking, entertainment, availing government services, etc. It is, therefore, crucial that the users are protected from various frauds such as identity theft, forged KYC, theft of mobile devices, banking frauds, etc. To protect users, Deptt of Telecom has developed a citizen centric portal named Sanchar Saathi”, said the Minister.
Divulging more details , a PIB release states that Sanchar Saathi allows citizens to check the connections registered on their names, report fraudulent or unrequired connection, block the mobile phones which are stolen/lost, check IMEI genuineness before buying a mobile phone. Sanchar Saathi portal empowers the citizens to fight against fraudulent activities. The entire system has been designed in-house by Deptt. of Telecom.
In case any mobile device is stolen or lost, a user can submit the IMEI numbers on the portal. Information submitted by user along with a copy of police complaint is then verified. The system is integrated with the Telecom Service Providers and Law Enforcement Agencies. Once the information is verified, the system blocks the stolen mobile phones from being used in Indian networks. In case anyone tries to use the stolen device, the system allows Law Enforcement Agencies to trace the device. When the stolen device is recovered, the IMEI can be unblocked on the portal. The system prevents use of stolen/lost mobiles. It also prevents mobiles with inaccurate or forged IMEIs being used in Indian networks.
It facilitates the citizens to check the genuineness of IMEI of their mobile device. It facilitates a user to check the number of mobile connections taken in her/his name using paper-based documents. User enters his mobile number on the portal and authenticates using OTP. The system shows the total connections taken in her/his name using paper-based documents (such as paper based Aadhar, passport, etc.) The system allows users to report fraudulent connections. It also allows users to block the connections which are not required. Once reported by the users, the system triggers re-verification process, and the connections are terminated.
Mobile connections obtained using fake/ forged documents are then used for cyber-frauds. To curb this menace, Deptt of Telecom has developed AI powered tool – ASTR to identify SIMs issued using fraudulent/forged documents. ASTR used various techniques of facial recognition and data analytics. In first phase, connections with paper-based KYC were analysed.
In first phase, analysis of more than 87 Cr mobile connections was carried out. For such a large data processing, Param-Sidhhi Supercomputer was used. Multiple cases were detected where one photograph was used to obtain hundreds of connections. A total of 40.87 Lakh suspected mobile connections were detected. After due verification 36.61 Lakh connections have already been disconnected. Remaining are under process. 40,123 Point of Sales (PoS) involved in selling such mobile connections, have been blacklisted by the service providers and more than 150 FIRs have been lodged across India. The details of disconnected numbers have been shared with banks, payment wallets and social media platforms for disengaging these numbers with their accounts.
—Jag Mohan Thaken