The Government of India has taken strong action against financial fraud by blocking over 1.4 lakh mobile numbers involved in such illegal activities. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and other authorities are using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to identify and suspend mobile connections linked to financial crimes. 

In a recent meeting chaired by the Financial Services Secretary, it was reported that a total of 1,40,000 mobile numbers have been blocked so far which were either connected to cancelled mobile connections or misused for cybercrimes and frauds. The government is leaving no stone unturned to curb the rising cases of digital payment fraud using mobile networks. 

The DoT has developed an AI-based engine called ASTR that can detect mobile connections activated using fake or forged documents. This engine has helped identify around 1.4 lakh such mobile numbers engaged in unlawful activities and blocked them preemptively. In addition, the DoT analyzed 35 lakh entities sending bulk SMS and further action was taken against those involved in transmitting malicious or fraudulent messages.

Over 19,776 principal entities spreading harmful SMS content have been blacklisted. Further, technical actions have been taken like disconnecting 30,700 SMS headers and 1,95,766 SMS templates. Since April 2023, a total of more than 500 arrests have been made related to financial crimes using mobile networks. Around 3.08 lakh SIMS have been blocked and 50,000 devices identified by their International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers have also been blacklisted. 

592 fake application links and APKs (Android application packages) and 2,194 malicious URLs have been removed from circulation. Continuous monitoring and quick response mechanisms have helped authorities in blocking several mobile-based financial fraud attempts in their early stages. 

Key government departments like the Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Electronics and IT, DoT, RBI, TRAI, UIDAI, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, NPCI, major banks Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India participated in the high-level meeting. 

They discussed integrating the Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System (CFCFRMS) with the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal for centralized monitoring and prevention of frauds. Banks and financial institutions were asked to phase out regular 10-digit mobile numbers and use dedicated series like ‘140xxx’ for promotional activities as per TRAI guidelines. 

Additional measures like conducting awareness programs in regional languages, sharing standardized fraud data with law enforcement agencies and ensuring round-the-clock complaint redressal were also proposed. The government’s stern actions against financial fraudsters by leveraging advanced technologies is helping protect citizens and institutions from the rising threats of digital crimes. Strict enforcement and continuous upgrades to monitoring systems will go a long way in curbing cybercrimes in the financial ecosystem.