Nowadays, when you go to a shop to buy some item, most of the shopkeepers ask your phone number before giving you the bill. Many times we don’t want to share our phone number, however, we always need to do it for the bill. In fact, our lot of personal details are linked with phone numbers like bank account, personal data. Hence sharing phone numbers everywhere can cost us dearly. Now, you won’t be required to share your phone number everywhere. The government has taken this step for consumer protection and prevention of online scam. Now shopkeepers cannot force you to give your phone number.
The Consumer Affairs ministry stated that shopkeers cannot force consumers to give phone numbers in exchange for any service or selling a product. Consumers have complained time and again that retail shopkeepers ask for their phone number while creating a bill and if they don’t provide number then shopkeepers refuse to provide service. However this demand is wrong as per the Consumer Protection Act.
Complaints by customers
Recently, several cases related to WhatsApp and call scams have come to light. Often, cybercrimes occur through mobile phones and WhatsApp messages. Cyber criminals hack users’ accounts through contact numbers, thereby gaining access to their personal data. This allows the criminals to have possession of the users’ personal data. Taking into consideration the security and privacy of the customers, the government has issued an advisory. Sharing mobile numbers always carries the risk of personal data leakage for customers, and they also have to deal with spam calls and messages, which can be quite bothersome. Many times, customers suffer significant losses due to fake calls and messages. In such cases, customers were lodging complaints with the cyber cell.
1.2 crore WhatsApp data got hacked
In March 2023, it was reported that data of 120 million WhatsApp users and 1.7 million Facebook users was hacked. In this leak, data from approximately 168 million government and non-government accounts was stolen. It also includes data of 2,55,000 military officers, which included their ranks, email IDs, and details of their postings. This means that this data could be used for large-scale espionage purposes as well.
Maximum data theft from India
In November 2022, data of WhatsApp users from 84 countries, including India, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, was leaked and sold online. Approximately 487 million WhatsApp users’ data was hacked worldwide, out of which 6.16 million were phone numbers of Indians. This clearly shows how sharing your mobile number can prove to be extremely dangerous for you
Cyber expert Kamakshi Sharma says that this step by the government will aid in protecting users’ data. Many times, we share our mobile numbers at malls or shops. However, there is no arrangement here to protect our numbers, which allows cyber criminals to access our numbers. Cyber criminals obtain our details through lucky draws or other excuses.