Buying a secondhand hand phone? Stop! Make sure you do this first
If you are buying a second hand phone, make sure you don't end up getting one that does not work properly, is stolen, or is otherwise compromised.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has introduced the Sanchar Saathi portal, enabling individuals to block and track their lost or stolen mobile phones throughout India. Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced that the portal would facilitate blocking, tracking, and verification of used devices before purchase.
What mobile users can do on the Sanchar Saathi website
The first component of the Sanchar Saathi portal is the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR). If a mobile phone is lost, individuals can visit the portal, complete an identity verification process, provide an undertaking, and promptly interact with law enforcement agencies and telecom service providers to block the lost device.
Sanchar Saathi offers a "Know Your Mobile" feature that allows users to verify the authenticity of second-hand mobile phones before purchase. Vaishnaw expressed confidence that these reforms would significantly reduce the growing trends in cyber fraud.
In response to inquiries about countering fraud via WhatsApp calls, the minister said that Meta-owned apps, including WhatsApp, have agreed to deactivate services associated with any mobile number involved in fraudulent activities.
The minister revealed that 3.6 million mobile connections had been terminated for fraud, with the corresponding WhatsApp accounts blocked.
Sanchar Saathi also incorporates the TAFCO facility, enabling people to verify if unauthorised mobile numbers are registered under their name without their knowledge or consent. The portal's functionalities have been developed by C-DoT, the technology development arm of the Department of Telecom. C-DoT has successfully added features to detect cloned mobile phones across all telecom networks.
To prevent the entry of unauthorised mobile phones, the government has mandated disclosing the 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number before their sale in India. Telecom operators and the CEIR system will have access to the approved IMEI numbers, facilitating tracking of lost or stolen mobile devices.
C-DOT has conducted a pilot of this technology in several telecom circles, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and the North East. Recently, Karnataka Police utilised the CEIR system to recover and return 2,500 lost mobile phones to their owners. While Apple already has a tracking system for lost mobile phones through Apple ID, similar solutions for Android devices have posed challenges.
The implementation of the Sanchar Saathi system renders stolen mobile phones ineffective. Moreover, it can contribute to curbing phone smuggling activities. With the CEIR's capability to block cloned mobile phones on networks using extensive databases, miscreants altering IMEI numbers to evade tracking and blocking measures will face greater difficulty.
In short, the DoT's Sanchar Saathi portal empowers individuals to block and track their lost or stolen mobile phones across India. The portal, encompassing CEIR and other facilities, enhances user safety, curbs fraud, and aids in combating the smuggling of mobile phones.
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