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Paytm alleges telcos did not act against phishing companies, approaches Delhi HC

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The Delhi High Court today sought the response of the Centre, TRAI, and major telecom companies, on a petition filed by Paytm alleging that telecom companies are not doing enough to block fraudsters carrying out phishing activities under Paytm’s name, reported The Hindu.

According to the petition, Paytm said its users are being defrauded using unsolicited commercial communications (UCC) in the form of SMS or voice calls made over telecom companies’ networks. Paytm claims that such phishing is occuring because telecom companies are flouting regulations laid down by the TRAI to regulate UCC.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice D.N.Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Ministry of Communications, TRAI, and major telecom companies including BSNL, Vodafone Idea, Airtel, Reliance Jio, and MTNL. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya and central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia accepted notice on behalf of the ministry. The bench has sought response by June 24. Paytm parent One97 Communications is being represented by Karuna Nundy.

The Telecommunication Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulations, 2018, placed the onus to prevent UCC on telcos, requiring them to register all telemarketers, verify them, assign them header and unique content templates. According to Paytm, telecos are not verifying telemarketers before granting them access to the telco database, they are not even taking any remedial action against such telemarketers. Even the TRAI’s 2018 regulations allow unregistered telemarketers, since it only penalizes bulk commercial communications.

Paytm claims that phishers themselves register as headers and content templates that are similar to Paytm’s headers and content templates. Telecom companies have not blocked or imposed financial disincentive against registered telemarketers, the petition says. It claims that the the failure of telecom companies to prevent UCC, and by extension phishing of its customers, has “caused financial and reputational loss” to it for which it has sought damages of ₹100 crore.

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