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Government Alert: What you should know about the 'Call Forwarding Scam' advisory

The centre warns mobile users about scam calls instructing them to dial '*401#' that could lead to call forwarding scams, enabling cybercriminals to potentially empty bank accounts through OTP requests.

Written By: Vishal Upadhyay New Delhi Updated on: January 12, 2024 12:11 IST
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Call Forwarding Scam: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a warning to millions of mobile phone users in India. Users are advised to be cautious of calls instructing them to dial '*401#' followed by an unknown number. Falling for this scam permits criminals to redirect all incoming calls to the user's number, enabling potential fraud.

Caution for Telecom Users

The Department of Telecommunications has specifically alerted users of Airtel, Jio, Vodafone-Idea, and BSNL to stay vigilant against such calls. This advisory comes after previous instances of the '*401#' call forwarding scam surfaced in October. In this scam, criminals posing as delivery agents, bank representatives, or service providers trick users into calling the specified number, allowing call redirection to unknown numbers chosen by cybercriminals.

Modus Operandi of Cyber Criminals

Cybercriminals often impersonate bank agents or telecom support representatives, claiming there's a network issue or another problem. They then instruct users to dial '*401#' to resolve the issue. 

“This activates unconditional call forwarding received on mobile of citizen to the unknown mobile number. This allows fraudster to receive all incoming calls and can be used for fraud,” DoT said in a statement.

The Department of Telecommunications emphasises the importance of ignoring such service calls and refraining from using the provided numbers for call forwarding.

How to prevent Call Forwarding?

If users unknowingly activate call forwarding due to such scams, it's crucial to disable it promptly. Users can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the settings of the phone.
  2. Navigate to call settings.
  3. Disable the call forwarding option or restore default settings.

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