USSD-based call forwarding to be suspended soon to curb fraud

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USSD-based call forwarding to be suspended soon to curb fraud
Represntational imageGemini
  • The DoT has asked telecom operators to suspend USSD-based call forwarding.
  • This has been done to curb instances of fraud by unauthorised call forwarding.
  • Users who currently have call forwarding activated may be required to reactivate the service.
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Online fraud has been on the rise in the country, with several instances of fraud resulting from calls being forwarded illegally. To curb this, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked telecom operators in the country to deactivate USSD-based call forwarding services across the country.

Existing USSD system found vulnerable



Unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) is a feature that allows users to activate services on their devices by dialling a specific code. This includes checking your balance, getting device information, IMEI, call forwarding services and more. With this move, users will not be able to use this service for call forwarding starting from April 15, 2024.

At present, call forwarding can be initiated and managed by entering the USSD code – *401#. While it is convenient to activate call forwarding using this code, DoT found the system to be vulnerable to misuse.

"It has been decided by the competent authority that all licensees shall discontinue the existing USSD-based call forwarding services with effect from 15.04.2024 till further notice,” said the DoT in its order dated March 28.

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As the DoT has only asked for this service to be suspended, experts suspect that the system could be brought back in the future in a more secure form.

Existing users will be required to reactivate call forwarding



If you have call forwarding activated on your number, you will be required to reactivate it once the service is suspended. The DoT has said that users will be required to activate call forwarding through alternate means, but has not specified them.

"All existing subscribers who have activated USSD-based call forwarding service may be asked to reactivate call forwarding services through alternative methods to ensure that such services are not activated without their notice."

It is expected that new ways to activate call forwarding will soon be announced by the telecom operators, in consultation with the DoT. This could be either through the company’s applications or a toll-free number.

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We should know more about how the users will be able to enable call forwarding in the coming days.

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