Hyderabad: For the last few days, a few video clips of Maharashtra police requesting the public not to answer phone calls coming from the numbers starting with 140 or +91140 were being shared. If answered, the police personnel warned that their mobiles will be hacked and they would lose all the money in their bank accounts.
I got this video from other social media channel. Wherein a police office can be seen telling not to receive any calls from number starting with 140. Pls validate and confirm its authenticity pic.twitter.com/ESb02gFR52
— pranav (@sanepranav) July 10, 2020
*❌❌📵📵आत्ताच वॉकीटॉकीवर कळविले आहे की कोणीही १४० या क्रमांकावरुन फोन आल्यास कॉल स्विकारु नये📵📵❌❌* pic.twitter.com/nh5WrXNNrM
— 𝕲𝕭𝕾𝖆𝖙𝖎𝖘𝖍𝕲𝖚𝖕𝖙𝖆 (@GBSatishGupta) July 10, 2020
@MahaCyber1 At one side police is announcing 140 is telemarketing calls and otherside police is directing NOT to receive calls from 140 else bank accounts will be empty. I think police needs to educate police itself first then take final decision. @AnilDeshmukhNCP (1/n) pic.twitter.com/jhurTdRiMX
— 🇮🇳 منظور احمد صدّیقی (@CyberWarrior55) July 11, 2020
Newsmeter also received requests from readers to fact check the social media posts.
The police warning the public is true but the claim that the public would lose the money from bank accounts if they answer the calls is FALSE.
In the first week of July 2020, the public in Hindi speaking states received phone calls from numbers starting with +91140 like +911408970061, +911408854218, +911408800135, +911408900071, +911408854209, etc and they complained to the police and cried foul on social media.
They have received a call from a worried man, who claimed that his name is Rishi and that he had witnessed a murder and that he filmed it on his mobile phone. As the murderers found that he has evidence, they are after him now and asked help from those receiving the calls.
Many of those receiving the call could not understand who that Rishi was and why was seeking their help in particular. It took them some time to understand that it was a recorded promotion campaign of the program ‘Undekhi’ on Sony Liv.
Dear @SonyLIV #Undekhi
What creepy shit promotion stint is this…. Horrible! @MIB_India @TRAI
How are Such promotional calls even allowed?
I almost skipped a heart beat, imagine elders or someone with weak heart conditions recieving it! Calling#+91 140 897 0061 #cheapshot pic.twitter.com/EOZDS35xsf
— R K (@RRosleen) July 10, 2020
What a ridiculous #promotional call trick by #Undekhi #SonyLIV Do U even realise what this can cause to a person if they miss out the last few words in panic. Get a better way to promote your series #webseries #advertisement #ScamAlert #murdercall #unethical #worldpremiereseries pic.twitter.com/8CzUhTkVti
— Suvrata Bhati (@BhatiSuvrata) July 10, 2020
Got a very disturbing call from this number +91 140 880 0135 @MumbaiPolice…The gentleman said he has witnessed a murder. Has recorded it on his phone & now those people want to kill him. He hung up after that. He was crying & quavering while speaking. Please look into this.
— smriti kiran (@smritikiran) July 10, 2020
Then receivers of the recorded promotional call complained to police about the publicity gimmick by Sony Liv and demanded action against it. After a warning from the Maharashtra police and in response to the outcry by the public, Sony Liv tendered an apology and stopped the promotion.
The era of ‘any publicity is good publicity’ is a passé. Any publicity creating panic amongst citizens and suggesting a threat to their security will be dealt with necessary severity. Hope the fake calls for promotions aren’t bothering you any longer, Mumbaikars #SoNotDone
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) July 10, 2020
It has come to our attention that a Sony Liv, a tv channel has used a tactic for the promotion of its new show by calling people and playing a disturbing voice recording. If you receive any such call, please do not panic and create rumours. (1/n)
— Maharashtra Cyber (@MahaCyber1) July 10, 2020
In the meanwhile, some overenthusiastic police officers of Maharashtra started to warn the public not to answer phone calls coming from the numbers starting with 140 or +91140. They tried to convince the public with the best reason saying they would lose all their money in the bank accounts.
However, the Maharashtra Cyber police rubbished the claims by the police personnel and informed the public that the numbers starting with 140 are of telemarketers. They also advised the public to not share confidential bank details including the OTPs with anybody.
There is a video clip doing the rounds on social media of a police constable telling people not to accept calls from numbers starting with +140.
We would like to clarify that numbers starting with +140 are telemarketing calls. (1/n)
— Maharashtra Cyber (@MahaCyber1) July 10, 2020
We would like to clarify that numbers starting with +140 are telemarketing calls. Please don't believe an any rumour. @DGPMaharashtra @CyberDost #SayNoToFakeNews #StopRumours #StayCyberSafe pic.twitter.com/nxKYqijr9n
— Maharashtra Cyber (@MahaCyber1) July 12, 2020
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has made several amendments to the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010 in the due course. In the sixth amendment dated September 5, 2011, the 140 series is allocated for the telemarketers for a fixed network. The Telemarketers can be registered with the service provider than at the TRAI, as per the regulations modified in 2018.
The numbers starting with the 140 are from telemarketers and the public can complain about Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) by the telemarketers with the National Customer Preference Register and to TRAI if required.
So, the claims that the answering of calls from numbers starting with 140 or +91140 hacking the mobile phones and emptying the bank accounts is FALSE.