PTA has yet to show any progress towards controlling the increasing number of fake calls. It has failed to devise any method to prevent deceptive calls and SMS. The majority of the population in Pakistan suffers at the hands of this scammer plague. Statistics and people’s reaction both tell the same story and it doesn’t look good. Despite several attempts to dismantle such operations, complaints still pile up at PTA. Stay with us as we dig deep to find out reasons why PTA failed.
A Little History
It all started in 1990 when Paktel was granted first license to employ a functioning cellular network. Fewer people used wireless phones at that time so the deceptive call and SMS reports were not so frequent. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was not a reality back then and hence little to none regulation. Then came the cellular networks revolution in 2004 and the industry boomed at a staggering pace. PTA was formed in 1996 and remains state-owned till this day. It is responsible for, as they say in their own words, “establishment, operation, and maintenance of telecommunications in Pakistan”. The establishment part was started by PTA in 1996 and it did quite good. Operations and maintenance are the key sectors in which PTA failed due to lack of law and regulation.
Why Fake Calls Are So Frequent?
Who can forget Saba “the ever beggar spam” when there is hardly any person who didn’t get their spam SMS. As it later turned out to be the largest SMS spamming network, the group was apprehended. The fake call culture is growing despite being a highly sensitive matter of stolen identity or of scam. Ultimately the reason is very light sentences given to scammers in any case whether electronic or a Ponzi. The convicts in such cases are taken very lightly and they don’t receive heavy social penalties either.
Statistics Of Deceptive Call And SMS
PTA has claimed to receive 40,502 complaints this year alone. This means an increase of about 15% in the number of complaints. This number can mean the failure to implement regulations and effective strategies. And it sure looks like it because a large portion of them was about deceptive call and SMS. Cellular networks work closely (to some extent) with PTA so the cooperation works one way only.
Methods PTA Devised For Awareness
Regional offices of PTA were advised to start awareness campaigns in every city. PTA launched such operations continuously every year since 2010. Text SMS were sent to active telecom users for awareness and advertisements were made. Biometric verification was set up for both the SIM activation and money transfer. Just recently PTA successfully launched a mission to block cell phones with non-registered IMEI.
Why PTA Failed?
PTA could only be effective if it was autonomous and at complete liberty to deal with online fraud. However because it is state-owned, it comes under the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication. Thus political pressure made PTA dysfunctional and in turn, provided a safe haven for fraudulent callers. Awareness among people was another issue for PTA because there is little to none awareness about fake calls and pretentious offers. Corruption in both the government and private sector are another big reason why PTA failed.
PTA failed to implement modern solutions for digital fraud and now it is lagging behind continuously. Even though PTA has successfully launched some great campaigns for awareness and apprehension, the collaboration between them and cellular companies needs to be boosted for significant results. Big decisions like unregistered IMEI blockage can help apprehend the people involved in deceptive call and SMS spamming.