Paytm listed 560 instances since the beginning of June 1 where customers had been defrauded.

Paytm office with logo in front
Money Telecom Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 17:28

In the ongoing tussle between Paytm and telecom companies, the former has slammed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as well as telecom companies that they failed to stop spam or fraud SMSes from unregistered telemarketers.

This is the latest in a plea filed by One97 Communications Ltd, the parent company of Paytm, alleging that telecom operators are not blocking "phishing" activities over various mobile networks.

Phishing is a cyber crime where people are contacted by email, phone calls or text messages by someone posing as a legitimate representative of an organisation to lure them to part with their sensitive data, including banking and credit card details and passwords.

In a rejoinder filed by Paytm, the digital payments operator said that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and BSNL did not meet verification obligations under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), the Economic Times reported. The report added that Paytm alleged that this led to its customers being duped. 

As per the report, the annexure by Paytm had listed 560 instances since the beginning of last month where customers had been defrauded, with the total amount coming up to Rs 1 cr. In its rejoinder, Paytm also said that BSNL “continues to remain the biggest defaulter of the provisions of the TCCCPR 2018.”

The TCCCPR allows telemarketers to have alpha numeric headers for SMSes, which businesses can use to send commercial communication via SMS to customers. 

Examples of some registered headers include Paytm, PYTM, PTM, IPAYTN and PYTKYC.

According to Paytm’s rejoinder, the phishing attacks were being done by registered as well as unregistered headers. 

The Economic Times report further stated that Paytm’s annexure also had a list of headers, which belong to 30 companies that are sending fraudulent content. 

“It may be noted that astonishingly, headers assigned to well-known entities such as NIC, Tata Communications, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Retail, Experian Credit Information Company, have been reported as sending fraudulent messages, clearly indicating that despite the so-called implementation of DLT, the system as it exists, is allowing the sending of fraudulent messages,” it reportedly said.

Previously, Paytm had alleged that scammers are registering themselves under headers that are similar to that of Paytm, and that they fool customers into revealing sensitive information, and call to know more information on the pretext of asking for details to complete the KYC process. 

At the beginning of the year, Paytm Payments Bank had shared a list with 3,500 phone numbers that had been used in phishing scams of government bodies.

Paytm, in its plea has claimed that millions of its customers have been defrauded by the phishing activities over the mobile networks and the failure of the telecom companies to prevent the same has "caused financial and reputational loss" to it for which it has sought damages of Rs 100 crore from them. Paytm has contended that the telecom majors are violating their obligations under the TCCCPR 2018.

Airtel had earlier told the court that it was complying with the regulations and the same stand was taken by Vodafone-Idea, Reliance Jio, MTNL and BSNL.

Airtel also claimed that as per TRAI's own affidavit, Paytm had not complied with the regulations initially and had done so much later and then moved the court complaining against the authority.

With inputs from PTI