CHENNAI: Unsolicited SMSes promising cash prizes and other offers are spamming mobile phones. Some messages from unknown numbers featuring bank account numbers and numbers of the mobile phone user are causing panic.
Residents TOI spoke to said since the lockdown, there has been a spike in the number of such SMSes that promote online rummy and real estate deals. Complaints to telecom operators have yielded no results.
T Sadagopan, a Pattabiram resident and president of Tamil Nadu Progressive Consumer Centre, said one of his family members received an SMS from an unknown number saying there has been a transaction in her bank account. The message displayed the account number.
“I had to rush to the bank for verification but no such transaction had happened. I was also asked by the bank officials to alter them in the event of any such SMS in the future,” he said.
Wondering how a third party accessed the bank account number, he said the telecom operator was of little help when he filed a complaint. “We receive around 20 spam SMSes on a daily basis from different numbers. It has increased during the lockdown period,” he added.
According to data furnished by the Union communications ministry in the Lok Sabha last year, service providers had received more than 43,000 complaints regarding unsolicited commercial communications in June 2019 across the country, of which 1,650 were related to properties.
According to sources, individual numbers are misused for commercial purpose, which is in violation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) rules. However, it is easy to track down the registered telemarketer because the sender’s name will start with two capital letters that indicate the name of the telecom operator. “Subscribers must route their complaints to the TRAI (SMS to 1909) regarding unsolicited communications instead of contacting the respective telecom operator directly because the latter would have to take immediate action over complaints sent by TRAI,” an Indian Telecom Service officer said.