Jio, Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL: DoT Issues New Rule For SIM Upgrade To Prevent SIM Switch Fraud
DoT announces new measures to combat the risk of SIM swap frauds. Read more to know the new guidelines.
A new SMS rule from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been recently announced. The DoT has mandated the new rule, which requires telecom providers like Reliance Jio, BSNL, Airtel, MTNL, and Vodafone-Idea to bar SMS service (both incoming and outgoing) during the SIM swap or upgrade procedure. Following the activation of new SIM cards, SMS services will be suspended for 24 hours. Further, providers of telecom services have been given 15 days by the department to adopt the new regulation. The new regulations are intended to reduce the danger of SIM switch scams, which are among the most prevalent cybercrimes in the nation.
But first, let us understand what a SIM swap fraud is.
What Exactly Is The SIM Switch Fraud?
SIM switch fraud is when scammers use phone calls or phishing to acquire private information about a customer. When asking for a new SIM card from the telecom service provider, they follow up with the same information. When the new SIM card is given to the customer, the previous SIM that was in their possession is deactivated, and the fraudster then receives all new communications sent to that number. They gain access to all the private OTP numbers and messages as well as control over the victim's cell number, thereby moving funds from the victim's account to their own throughout the process. This might also occur if customers click on suspicious URLs or if their phones are stolen.
For the purpose of upgrading consumers' SIM cards, in 2016 and 2018, the DoT published specific protocols and measures for obtaining their express agreement. Now, it has added further specific guidelines for how to handle requests for SIM upgrades, reissues, or swaps, including extra layers of confirmation after a customer makes the request.
The new regulation requires telecom companies to notify customers of requests to alter SIM cards or phone numbers after receiving those requests. In order to verify the authenticity of the request and the receipt of the new SIM, it must also confirm the receipt of the new SIM card by making an IVRS call to the subscriber on the existing SIM card. The verification process will ensure that the request came from a legitimate SIM card holder and not from a fraudster. Telecom companies have been instructed to immediately halt the SIM upgrading procedure in the event that the client refuses the request for a new SIM card at any time.
Thus, with the new rules, users will now receive a warning if a SIM change request is made, alerting them to potential fraud.