India launches Chakshu—a platform for reporting fraud calls and texts

The platform will allow individuals to report fraudulent communications, including calls, texts, and WhatApp messages

NEW DELHI : India has rolled out a digital platform that will allow individuals to flag calls and text messages by fraudsters, adding a layer of protection against faceless criminals using tech to rob people of their money.

The department of telecommunication’s new platform, Chakshu, simplifies reporting on fraud calls and messages, and allows for real-time intelligence-sharing among several stakeholders.

“Chakshu will allow Indian citizens to report fraudulent communication–whether received on call or SMS or social media like WhatApp. Once such information is received, the platform will trigger re-verification, and failing re-verification the number will be disconnected,” Union telecom and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Monday. 

Several instances of fraud have come to fore with criminals impersonating bank or government officials calling individuals to update their details for their bank accounts or gas and electricity connections. 

Last month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India published its final recommendations to introduce caller identification as a default feature across domestic telecom networks to help individuals guard against fraudsters.

Vaishnaw said Trai is working on building an app for Chakshu, and that the government is open to collaborating with private firms such as Truecaller to improve fraud protection through the platform.

Chakshu, which is currently not accessible to individuals, will act as an information exchange and coordination agency among telecom companies, law enforcement agencies, banks and financial institutions, social media platforms, and authorities issuing identity documents. 

The platform will also contain information regarding cases detected as misuse of telecom resources. 

The government will also create a grievance redressal platform for reporting connections disconnected inadvertently, as well as for creating a mechanism for returning money frozen as a result, Vaishnaw said.

Chakshu will function as a backend repository for citizen-initiated requests on the Sanchar Saathi platform for action by the various stakeholders. 

Sanchar Saathi, launched in May last year for individuals to track or block lost mobile phones and report instances of identity theft, has so far helped trace more than 700,000 mobile phones and detect over 6.7 million suspicious communication attempts. 

The platform has also helped individuals save ₹1,000 crore in potential losses.

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