One97 Communications Limited, parent company of Paytm, has moved the Delhi High Court (HC) alleging that telecom service providers are not blocking fraudsters defrauding its customers by phishing activities over the various mobile networks.

According to Paytm, millions of its customers have been defrauded by the phishing activities over mobile networks and the failure of the telecom companies to prevent the same has caused financial and reputational loss to it. To this end, Paytm has sought damages worth Rs 1 billion from the telcos.

Paytm, in its petition, has contended that the telecom majors including Airtel, Reliance Jio, Bharat Sanchar Nigam imited (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Vodafone Idea are violating their obligations under the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018 which was notified by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to curb problem of unsolicited commercial communications.

Paytm has argued that under the regulations, the telecom companies are required to verify purported telemarketers seeking registration with them before granting access to their customer data and also take action immediately against all fraudulent registered telemarketers. It has further contended that under the statutory regime it is the telecom companies’ responsibility to prevent such fraud and deter the fraudsters through blocking and/or financial disincentives.

Explaining the modus operandi of the fraudsters, Paytm has said that such people or entities get registered with the telecom companies and get assigned themselves headers, like Paytm, PYTM, PTM, IPAYTN, PYTKYC and its derivatives, which are similar to official headers of Paytm including BPaytm, FPaytm, PAYTMB, Ipaytm and mPaytm and then send messages to its customers for getting their sensitive and private information, including account details and passwords.

The messages usually contain some link which when clicked installs a software on the phone allowing the fraudster to get the customer’s financial account details stored on the device, the petition has said.