TAIPA warns on increase in tower installation frauds

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 20, 2020

Victims are offered sums of Rs 2-3 lakh and gifts such as iPhones   -  Prashant Nakwe

‘Victims trapped into leasing out property for exorbitant sums’

The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has warned of an increase in tower installation frauds, where consumers are lured by promising high rent for setting up telecom towers on their premises.

A group-marketing fraud in the name of a big telecom company has been enticing unsuspecting victims across the country, duping them of lakhs of rupees. These frauds, which are unique to India, trap victims by offering to “lease” out their land at exorbitant rents, it said.

The hoaxers call themselves agents on behalf of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) or from any renowned telecom company. They offer monthly rent, free installation of towers, and even promise to waive the mandatory fees to the local municipal bodies.

Everybody is offered a one-time payment of ₹2,00,000 to ₹3,00,000 and gifts such as iPhones. In return, the unsuspecting owner of the property deposits cash into the accounts of the fake company as tax under the Telecom Act for renting their premises to set up telecom towers.

The innocent property owner is also issued a fake receipt. Once the cash is deposited, the fraudsters close their bank accounts and shift to another city, it said.

“There is an urgent need for the people to alert themselves about the installation tower frauds taking place across the country. The TRAI does not issue non-objection certificate for installation of mobile towers and whenever a fraudster approaches them with such a letter, they should directly report the matter to the concerned telecom service provider and call the police to take further disciplinary action,” TR Dua, Director-General of TAIPA said.

The most-affected States include Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

Published on August 20, 2020

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