How call centre authorities in Guwahati deal with prank calls?
• “Ineffective” calls make for at least 65% of calls received by 108 ambulance helpline
• These include prank, hoax, abusive calls or silent calls.
• Out of a total of 8,000 calls received by 108 per day, at least 5,000 turn out to be fraudulent
• They block the lines for genuine callers
• Sarathi 104 service faces similar prank calls
• Officials share numbers of repeat offenders with the police
Authorities have adopted a multi-dimensional approach to tackle such callers in order to maintain a smoother functioning of the helpline. In a few cases of repeat offenders, the helpline operators at the GVK EMRI take it upon themselves to educate and counsel the callers.
“We note down the number of repeat offenders and call them back to educate them about the significance of the helpline and how their calls are causing major hassles to us,” said Prasad.
Authorities informed that there have even been instances when a particular person has called the helpline around 1,500 to 2,000 times in a single day. In such cases, they are forced to take the help of police.
“We give the telephone numbers of repeat offenders to the police and in a few cases pranksters have also been arrested in the past,” said an official.
“We have also found that the people making such calls include people having psychological disorders and also some troublemakers who have nothing better to do with their time,” he added.
At times, the officials also resort to blocking the phone numbers of prank callers temporarily. However, this only remains a temporary solution as they can’t block any number permanently since the person might have a genuine emergency in the future.
Another mechanism used by the officials to filter out these prank callers is by asking a few questions to every caller for verification purpose. These include their address, landmarks, name of the nearest police station and type of emergency among others.
In 2017, the emergency service received an average of 78 road traffic accidents per day and 14 assault cases. Further, a total of 20 calls for drug related or poisoning cases and 75 acute abdomen cases were received everyday by the call centre.