Ghana intensifies SIM Box fraud crackdown

Ghana has intensified its crackdown on SIM box, crowned by the arresting of five members of a SIM box fraud syndicate operating in Accra and the US.

This comes few months after HumanIPO carried out a story that exposed the new trend that fraudsters are using to channel calls away from legitimate operators at a lower cost.

The five suspects were arraigned at the Accra Circuit Court and were charged with unauthorized access or interception of electronic records, possessing illegal devices, providing electronic communications services without a license, knowingly interfering with the sending, transmission, delivery and reception of communication and abetment of crime.

Several raids have been carried out in different areas suspected to be hosting the SIM box fraudsters. This mission was a collaboration between mobile operators, the NCA and police.

SIM box fraud takes place when individuals or organizations buy thousands of SIM cards offering free or low cost calls to mobile numbers. The SIM cards are then used to channel national or international calls away from mobile network operators and deliver them as local calls, costing operators revenues.

The Ghanaian government had earlier reported SIM box fraud has cost them US$5.8 million in stolen taxes alone. In Kenya, the government and operators lose 12 to 15 million minutes worth of revenue to this SIM box fraud. This is approximately US$440,000 per month!

Several operators have been tracking this menace, with the likes of Airtel Ghana introducing a short code, 919, which customers can use to report SIM card fraud.

Ghana’s communication minister reiterated that the government will relentlessly fight the menace of SIM box fraud, which is cheating both the state and telecoms operators of millions of dollars in revenue.

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