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Pesky calls, spam SMS continue unabated in defiance of TRAI’s ‘DND’: Survey

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Pesky calls, spam SMS continue unabated in defiance of TRAI’s ‘DND’: Survey

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The online survey by Localcircles, conducted between March 10-May 10 this year, found that 64% mobile phone users get three or more spam and promotional calls from fraudsters and telemarketers on an average daily.

Pesky calls, spam SMS continue unabated in defiance of TRAI’s ‘DND’: Survey

A majority of mobile phone users receive unwanted or pesky calls and text messages even after having registered their numbers in the national ‘Do Not Call' registry of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), a survey report said on May 17. According to online platform Localcircles, 95 percent people who participated in the survey said they get pesky calls and SMS texts (short messaging services) despite having registered their numbers in the 'Do Not Call' registry, also known as ‘Do Not Disturb’ (DND) list.

The survey, which was conducted across 377 districts between March 10 and May 10 this year comprising 37,000 respondents, found that 64 percent mobile phone users get three or more spam calls on an average daily. "Many people face issues of unwanted calls made to them by fraudsters, spammers and telemarketers despite registering on TRAI's Do Not Call registry," it said.

The next question sought to know if citizens, having subscribed to DND list, are getting unwanted, pesky or sales or promotional phone calls on their mobile phones. In response, the majority of 95 percent of Indians said, “yes, still get them,” and only 5 percent said “no, don't get them,” the report said.

When contacted, a senior TRAI official said the regulator has introduced blockchain-based technology to curb the pesky call menace, but the challenge remains in controlling unregistered telemarketers.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) last year had proposed to make the norms more stringent by reducing the slabs for levying penalty to Rs 1,000 per violation for 0-10 breaches, Rs 5,000 each for 10-50 violations and Rs 10,000 each for more than 50 violations. The slabs under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 are 0-100, 100-1,000 and more than 1,000 violations.

According to the survey, 51 percent respondents out of 9,252 people who replied to the query said they get calls related to “selling financial services” and 29 percent get such calls for “selling real estate.” In response to a question on the way people handle unwanted, pesky or promotional phone calls on their mobile, 14 percent said they use an app that tells them the caller's identity and don't pick such calls. Another 14 percent said, "as a rule only pick up calls from numbers in my phone book.”

"Only 2 percent citizens said they answer calls and talk to most of them while 7 percent said they do nothing. There were also 42 percent of citizens who said they pick up such calls and then block them and 21 percent answer them and tell them not to call," the report said.

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