This Is How You Can Block Telemarketers in India

"Hello Sir, I am an underpaid BPO employee, would you like to purchase our Super Insurance Policy/Hair Growth Oil/Useless B.Tech degree?"

I'm sure you might have received such a call at least once and that too at the most inappropriate time.

Guide to block telemarketers

Telemarketers are the unsolicited emails of the mobile world. Particularly in India, they are quite a nuisance. That's because of the loose rules and regulations that govern them and the equally shoddy implementation of those rules. India is also the second major originator of spam calls and emails.

And with increasing social media penetration, we Indians are sharing much more without giving any thought to the privacy of our data.

via GIPHY

To combat this, Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), our telecom regulator has a Do-Not-Disturb (DND) list where you can enroll your mobile number to prevent these calls. But this is rarely the case because many people continue to get such calls even though their numbers are enlisted.

The most bizarre part is that many people have not parted with their numbers but these telemarketers still manage to find them somehow. Here, we'll see how to effectively get rid of such callers on the basis of the guide posted on Reddit by user in3po.

Register on DND List

The first step is to register your mobile number in the DND list if you haven't already, as you can't report telemarketers if your number is not registered on the list. As shown below, you can register either through sending an SMS to or by calling 1909.

RegisterDND

One can also block telemarketers from specific categories like Tourism or Financial. You need to send the relevant code to block spams from that particular category (0 to block them all). Once your number gets registered, you'll get a confirmation message. Following are the categories of telemarketers that you can block:

  1. Banking/Financial Products/Insurance/Credit cards
  2. Real Estate
  3. Education
  4. Health
  5. Consumer Goods and Automobiles
  6. Entertainment/Broadcasting/Communication/IT
  7. Tourism and Leisure

Reporting an SMS

Even after registration, you may get a rogue SMS or call from a telemarketer who doesn't care about the law. According to many commentators on the original Reddit thread, Myntra, Easemytrip and FIIT-JEE are some of the repeat offenders. To report such callers, send an SMS to 1909 in the format shown below.

ReportDND

You can also use the TRAI's DND 2.0 app to do the same. It reads your SMSes and conveniently allows you to select a particular message to be reported. Your experience may vary as the app has some major usability issues, earning it a 2.5 rating on Google Play Store. Moreover, iOS users are left out as the DND app is not available on the App Store as it violates a few Apple App Store policies.

What Happens When I Report?

As per the regulations, your phone operator has to report these numbers to the TRAI. Upon reporting a number, you will get a confirmation SMS containing an SR number and an ETA for the resolution.

Your operator will then forward the SR number and the offending number to the TRAI for further action. The TRAI will then take this up with the network operator of the offending number and either fine or terminate it.

Take It Up with the Service

Many stubborn marketers don't comply with these rules or find a way around by changing the numbers frequently. To deal with them, directly send an email to the customer care of the service they are advertising.

EmailtoCC
One of the email I sent to an online service which was flooding my inbox with their offers

The email should have stern words and should mention that you will report the fraudsters to the TRAI. This usually works for some but not all. Blocking is also not an option here as the numbers mostly carry the AK-XXX or the AD-XXX format that is used by bulk SMS-sending services. The most effective way to prevent this is not to give your number to unreliable websites.

Guard Your Privacy

As I said in the beginning of this article, many of us don't give much importance to privacy. When was the last time you refused to give your number or email address at a supermarket or an outlet chain? Whenever you give your mobile number to a staff at any supermarket, online service or restaurant, it finds its way to a telemarketer's list.

DataleakIndia
Data leaks are happening in India too | Courtesy Business Today

Is it worth going through all the hassle for a measly 5% discount? So, kindly spare a thought before giving your contact information to any salesperson.

Hope for a Better Solution

The DND list was introduced quite some time ago but it's only now that it's getting some attention after the release of the DND 2.0 app. Telemarketers, spam emails, and other kinds of unsolicited communication are also becoming more intrusive. The constant leak of personal data is making it easier for such fraudulent marketers to get access to your details.

CallCenterIndia
Image for Representational Purpose only | Courtesy IndianExpress

So next time you encounter such a call, just ask the caller from where he or she got your number and inform them that you'll report them to the TRAI. If the pestering continues, take any of the measures that I've mentioned above. Hopefully, we will get a better system to block unwanted calls and texts in the future.

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Ajinkya Bhamburkar

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