Will new SMS regulations bring down fraudulent SMS scams?

Mobile users in India are letting out a sigh of relief as unsolicited calls and text messages selling a wide spectrum of things ranging from credit card services to weight loss solutions have significantly come down. This is the first day of this improvement as the TRAI (Telecom regulatory Authority of India) has started enforcing the national customer preference registry norms from Tuesday (September 27, 2011). The new regulations are more consumer friendly and empowers them against various telemarketers selling unwanted products and services. At the same time, this precedent will also have a positive impact on bringing down the number of fraudulent SMS scams.

During the year 2006-2007, when the Nigerian lottery fraudsters (419 fake messages) first started making use of mobile phones to reach their targets, it was assumed that it would be fairly easy to catch those behind these frauds. As days passed by, it became clear that hardly any fraudsters were arrested or operators blocked from sending such unsolicited messages. The short code regulations from TRAI were inadequate to control these scams.

Now that the new and improved version of the do-not-call regulation has come into effect, we have to wait and watch whether it will have any impact on SMS scams. This will depend on how effectively the new regulation is enforced by law authorities. If the approach of the police towards complaints regarding these SMS scams is just as it was before, then this is hardly going to make any difference. It is up to the police to consider any violation as serious, and to register a complaint against the telecom operator who supports the use of their services to carry out these SMS scams.

Sanjay Katkar

Sanjay Katkar

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