Defeat Scams! Series Of Phone Numbers To Help You Spot Fraud Calls

With the new number series, the Centre aims to build confidence among the users by enabling them to differentiate between spam calls and genuine service/transactional calls
Series Of Phone Numbers To Help You Spot Fraud Calls
Series Of Phone Numbers To Help You Spot Fraud Calls

To tackle the increasing cases of phone-call-based fraud across the country, the government of India has released a separate 10-digit number series that will help citizens differentiate between legitimate calls from scam dials. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has introduced a new numbering series with the prefix '160' for 10-digit numbers. This will be used for official communication with the public by regulatory bodies, government agencies, and other financial institutions. "It has been decided to allocate a separate numbering series 160 exclusively for service and transactional voice calls as per Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR) 2018," the official note by DoT stated.

Separating ‘Principle Entities’

The new number series will replace ‘140xxxxxxx’ which is currently in use and has been allocated to telemarketers to make calls related to promotions, services, and transactional voice calls.

Since the 140xx series is widely used for promotional calls, consumers generally do not engage resulting in unawareness and missed important service/transactional calls. Genuine entities, therefore, use regular 10-digit numbers for making service/transactional calls giving an opportunity to scammers to deceive consumers using 10-digit numbers.

Consumer Protection

At the bottom line, it is consumers who are more vulnerable to falling for scams when they can’t be sure to tell apart genuine calls from the fraud ones.

The Centre recognised the need to build confidence among the consumers by enabling them to differentiate between spam calls and genuine service/transactional calls when both show 10-digit unknown numbers. Hence, it has now come up with a separate number series to cater to service/transactional voice calls from principal entities.

New Number Series ‘160’

‘160xxxxxxx’ will be exclusively used for service and transactional voice calls by genuine government agencies and authorities. For example, the service/transactional calls originating from financial and regulatory entities like RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, IRDA, etc. will begin from ‘1601’.

It will:

- Set clear differentiation between service/transactional calls versus other types of calls

- Make it easier for citizens to manage their communication.

Further, the telecom regulatory body has asked consumers to activate the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) Do Not Disturb (DND) feature that can block unwanted promotional calls, thereby strengthening protection against spam calls.

The new numbers series will be visible to mobile users on their screens in '1600ABCXXX' format. ‘AB’ represents the code of the telecom circle for example 11 for Delhi and 22 for Mumbai. 'C' will represent the code of the telecom operator. The XXX will contain digits between 000-999. Moreover, incoming calls from this number series format will only be used by government agencies and regulatory bodies.

The official release has asked TSPs (telecom service providers) to ensure adequate verification of each entity before assigning a number from the new 160 series. “The TSP shall obtain an undertaking from the seeking entity that it will use the number assigned from 160 series exclusively for service and transactional voice calls as per TCCCPR 2018," the official communication by DoT notes.

How can you protect yourself from international spam calls?

Earlier, the DoT had issued guidelines regarding WhatsApp calls from international mobile numbers (like +92-xxxxxxxxxx) that impersonate government officials to scam people.

Scammers use such calls to threaten and steal the personal information of the people. Many people have been scammed to send money out of fear generated by fraudsters. “The DoT does not authorise anyone to make such call on its behalf and has advised people to stay vigilant and asked not to share any information on receiving such calls,” the regulatory body had said.

The DoT has further advised people to report such fraud calls and messages at the ‘Chakshu-Report Suspected Fraud Communications’ facility extended by the Sanchar Saathi portal (

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