The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has tightened rules around verification requirements for customers seeking mobile numbers, and for point of sale (PoS) entities appointed by the telecom operators, in an effort to curb fraud and phishing.

In a recent notification, DoT said that sometimes mobile connections, obtained by fraudsters in connivance with PoS, are being misused to commit cybercrime/frauds. It added that it has thus decided to regulate the provisioning of services by the licensees through PoS entities. This means, telecom operators will now have to verify and register each PoS entity before they can start enrolling customers. The PoS entity will have to submit various documents like corporate identity number or business licence, Aadhaar or passport of the representative PoS, address of the place of working and local residential address of the person representing the PoS. The PoS representative will also be required to verify using biometrics, which can be done through Aadhaar based e-KYC.

Further, the telco and the PoS will sign a written agreement and include the specific provisions related to the enrollment of customers, area of operations and penal actions for the violation of the same. However, PoS entities in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Noth East licensed service areas (LSAs) would also require police verification before the agreement is signed. The DoT has requested that the telcos to ensure that their PoS entities do not delegate any of its activities mentioned in the agreement to a third party. Each PoS will be assigned a unique PoS identification, to make sure only the valid PoS IDs are allowed to enroll customers.

Meanwhile, PoS entities found in the violation of the norms set by DoT will face termination of contracts along with their PoS IDs blocked and terminated by the telcos within 24 hours. These norms will come into effect from October 10, 2023. Any licencee that enrolls customers through unregistered PoS after September 30, 2023 will incur a fine of Rs 1 million per instance per PoS. Further, the phone numbers enrolled via unregistered PoS would be required to verify again.

DoT has also tightened the rules for customer verification while issuing a mobile number. It has discontinued the category of “bulk connections” and replaced it with “business connections”. Issuance of business connections will require documentation including corporate identification number, limited liability partnership identification number, or business licence, goods and services tax (GST) registration certification, and the address of place of business.

Additionally, DoT has also asked telcos to facilitate auto-population of the demographic details including photograph of customer by scanning the QR code on the Aadhar card. For sim-swap or replacement too, the telcos must now follow the e-KYC and D-KYc process.