Cyber fraud: Centre cancels 1.58 crore mobile connections in one year

Representational image. File/ Shutterstock.

New Delhi: The Department of Telecommunications has cancelled 1.58 crore mobile connections in the country in one year since May 17, 2023. The cancelled numbers included SIM cards taken using fake documents and those involved in cyber fraud cases.
During the year-long period till May 17, 2024, a total of 69,730 SIM cards were blocked in Kerala. Additionally, 1.86 lakh mobile phones, involved in cyber fraud cases, were also blocked countrywide. Sim cards cannot be used in these phones since the department has blocked the devices' IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers.

Most cards — 63.46 lakh — were blocked using the department's Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Facial Recognition-powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification (ASTR). The AI-enhanced tool cancelled multiple SIM cards procured by one individual using various fake documents and details.
The tool matches the photographs the customer provides to different service providers and compares the KYC details. Those matching would be cancelled after scrutiny.
The Department of Telecommunications coordinated its actions through the 'Sanchar Saathi' portal. More details are available on

Cancelled connections
1. Fake SIM cards (via ASTR): 63.46 lakh
2. Cases reported by government agencies: 8.62 lakh
3. Sim cards for individuals (breaching the nine SIM card a person limit): 53.86 lakh
4. Connections that subscribers reported do not belong to them: 32.18 lakh
5. Cancelled mobile phones: 1.86 lakh
6. WhatsApp accounts cancelled for cheating: 6.1 lakh
7. Frozen bank accounts/valets: 9.98 lakh

577 WhatsApp accounts cancelled
The department has also cancelled 577 WhatsApp accounts used in cyber fraud cases, in which fraudsters, in the guise of government officials, made calls from numbers beginning +92 to con people.
Fraudsters, masquerading as police or customs officials, used these accounts to blackmail people over non-existent courier consignments. The department also disconnected 8,272 connections reported for making fraudulent messages and calls. These numbers were reported over the Chakshu portal that facilitates citizens to report suspected or unsolicited communications. The portal was launched in March. Website: 

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