Spam calls facing Indian mobile users

:: M.Y.Siddiqui ::

Spam calls continue to intrude daily lives of mobile users with impunity. Users maintain they  disconnect and block three and more spam calls daily despite Do Not Disturb (DND) facility having been introduced since 2007 by the union government. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already introduced in 2010 a framework, Telecom Commercial Customers Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), to curb spam calls. But the spammers went ahead and thwarted this regulation as well. Union government also keeps introducing new regulations from time to time to keep spam calls under checks. All such measures have failed to check pesky calls. It seems spam callers have infiltrated every mode of communications. Users are finding it difficult to deal with such problems. 

Spam calls have become daily nuisance for the users. A survey by LocalCircles in 2022 revealed that two-third of respondents get more than three calls daily. This is despite continuing Do Not Disturb regulation in place since 2007 to keep spammers at bay. Ninety five per cent of respondents who registered for it got spam SMSes calls daily, the survey found. According to the survey, 32 percent respondents said they received 1-2 unwanted calls daily, 33 percent received 3-5 unwanted calls, 18 percent 6-10, and nine percent 10+ calls. Of the unwanted SMes, 25 percent received 1-3 unwanted SMSes, 37 percent 4-7 , and 36 percent 7+. As for unwanted WhatsApp messages, the survey revealed 1-3 unwanted messages were received by 54 percent people, followed by 30 percent getting 4-7 messages, 11 percent 7+ messages.

LocalCircles released the survey on WhatsApp messages, SMes, and calls in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively across over 300 districts in each case. More than two-thirds comprised men and half of those surveyed were from Tier 1 cities. Share of Do Not Disturb (DND) registered mobile subscribers who still got spam calls was 95 percent, the 2022 LocalCircles survey said. Truecaller’s analysis for January-October 2021 revealed that a single spammer in India made 202 million spam calls. Average number of 16.8 spam calls was received in India per month in January-October 2021 as per Truecaller’s analysis. Combined share of Delhi-Mumbai circles in all complaints made to telecom service providers for spam calls in 2021 was 35.7 percent, according to department of telecommunications. Emails around the world about spam were 48.6 percent of the gross emails, according to Securelist. China tops the list of spam hosts with 948,951, followed by India 939,641, USA 327,604, Indonesia, Thailand, Algeria, Brazil, Pakistan, Egypt and Vietnam in that order. 

Russia, China and the USA remained the top three sources of spam emails in the world in 2022 as per the latest Spam and Phishing report released by the Secure’s list. The biggest targets of spam emails were Spain 8.8 percent, followed by Russia 7.2 percent and India 1.6 percent of such spam emails.  Percentagewise, global share of flooding spam emails are Russia 29.8 percent, followed by China 14 percent, USA 10.7 percent, Germany 5.2 percent, Netherlands 3.7 percent and India 1.8 percent. Scam call, spam messages and spam emails remain a global menace. Such calls, messages and emails are rampant worldwide. Argentina remained the worst affected where 52 percent of the calls, messages and emails received were spam on a spam detector and caller ID app, Hiya. In India, the share of spam calls is comparatively better at 12.7 percent.

Spread of share of unwanted calls is the highest in Indonesia 57.7 per cent, followed by Argentina 52 percent, Brazil 44.9 percent, Turkey 14.4 percent, India 12.7 percent, Hungary 8.3 percent, and Ireland 4.8 percent. While some of the countries like Ireland, Hungry and Thailand have tackled successfully spam call menace with fewer than 10 percent of all spam calls, according to Global Call Threat report 2022, in India challenges are stupendous. Problem remains unsolved with every innovative technological and legal steps by the government in consultation with the service providers, spammers are always ahead to thwart such moves!


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