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DoT Introduces Unique 10-Digit Number Series to Combat Fraudulent Calls

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has introduced a novel measure to combat fraudulent calls and protect telecom consumers. In its announcement, the DoT revealed the allocation of a distinct 10-digit number series, commencing with 160, specifically designated for marketing and service calls. This initiative, outlined under the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), 2018, aims to empower consumers by facilitating identification of callers, telecom operators, and call locations.


The unique numbering system, structured as 1600ABCXXX for governmental and regulatory bodies, ensures transparency and accountability in communication. Each number will incorporate the telecom circle code (‘AB’)—for instance, 11 for Delhi and 22 for Mumbai—and the telecom service provider code (‘C’), with ‘XXX’ denoting a range between 000 and 999.

Moreover, financial institutions regulated by bodies such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) will be assigned numbers in the format 1601ABCXXX. Rigorous verification protocols will precede the allocation of these numbers, ensuring adherence to service and transaction call purposes.

In a parallel effort to curb SMS fraud, the DoT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has initiated the Sanchar Saathi initiative. Over the past three months, more than 10,000 fraudulent messages utilizing eight specific headers have been identified. Consequently, the Principal Entities associated with these headers have been blacklisted, along with all 73 SMS headers and 1,522 content templates linked to these entities. This proactive measure prohibits these entities from transmitting SMS through any telecom operator, safeguarding consumers against potential fraudulence.

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