Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Two people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in SIM box fraud.
Evans Agbenyo and Georgia Vera Mensah, both students in their 20s were arrested on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at their hideout in Dome Pillar Two in Accra by a task force comprising of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Telecoms Chamber and the Ghana Police Service.
SIM box fraud is a setup which fraudsters install on SIM boxes with multiple low-cost prepaid SIM cards. Operators involved in this fraudulent act use laptops and other non-sophisticated gadgets.
With the help of these devices, they convert international calls through the internet to make it appear as if it is a local call. By this, they rob the state and telecom service providers of their deserved revenues.
They divert revenue from the telcos to their private accounts and those of their collaborators both inside and outside the country.
Government and telecommunication operators have lost about $50 million through such illegal activities since October 2010, according to ASP Benefo Darkwa.
Speaking in an interview on PEACE FM Morning Show Kokrokoo, ASP Benefo Darkwa, Director of Public Relations, indicated that the police after the arrest were able to retrieve a total of 1,006 Sim cards of different communication network, routers, Linksys wifi route and laptops.
Between October 2010 and August 2014, 17 suspects made up of Ghanaians and foreign nationals have been arrested.
He asked people who have been receiving foreign calls through a local number to send a text message to the short code 419. Type the local number which appeared on the phone +SIM BOX and sent to 419. With this, the number can be traced.
“Any international call with a local number has been diverted to them. Individuals who receive international calls through local numbers are encouraged to send that particular number preceded by ‘SIM BOX’ in a form of a text message to the short code 419 on all networks… The state has lost GHC 836,000 due to their activities” he indicated.
Meanwhile, government has approved four new policies to introduce for new licenses to regulate emerging value-added services.
These licenses are: Interconnect Clearing House License with a potential to control the incidence of by-pass of incoming international telephone traffic to the country, International Wholesale License and the Mobile Virtual Network Operations License (MVNO).
The introduction of the new licenses will expand the range of value-added services especially the introduction of premium services by third party content providers.