Fighting SIM box fraud in Ghana ……300,000 cards deactivated

simAbout 300,000 SIM cards used in Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) box fraud have been detected and deactivated in the first six months of test operations of Afriwave Telecom.

A statement from the company said its deactivitation, strategies were being refined to include a Geo-location solution which would expose the location of the equipment and their operators for confiscation and prosecution.

The move according to the company was to reduce SIM-Boxing to levels where it was no longer profitable for the fraudsters to stay in business.

Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) box fraud is a set up where fraudsters team up with partners abroad to route international calls through the internet, using voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and terminate those calls through a local phone number in Ghana to make it appear as if the call is local.

The overseas caller is often not aware of the activities conducted by these cyber fraudsters whose activities result in the loss of revenue to the State.

The SIM box operator can route international calls through the internet and connect the call as local traffic, allowing the box’s operator to bypass international rates to fraudulently undercut the prices charged by Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and evade the surtax charged by government and thereby denying you and I from valuable development in our communities.

The fraudulent activity creates unnecessary high traffic for local calls, causing congestion that affects the network’s performance.

Most SIM cards used for fraud are pre-registered in bulk. Authorities continue to work with organisations like Afriwave Telecom to investigate fraudulent bulk SIM registration.

After SIM-Box numbers are detected by Afriwave, they are relayed to the respective MNOs for immediate deactivation before the number becomes profitable.

The statement said with the introduction of the ICH, Afriwave now coordinates the fight against SIM boxing in Ghana which the MNOs used to do on their own.

This according to the statement saves the MNOs a lot of money to invest in improving their services and to give back to the communities in which they operate through their corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The ICH is also identifying SIM box calls at source and relaying the number to the respective MNOs for immediate blocking before it becomes profitable.  There is no human intervention. In the past, customers who received SIM box calls had to pass on the number via a short code or email address to the respective MNOs to block which inevitably delayed the rapid deactivation of those numbers.

Afriwave Telecom is Ghana’s first Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) licensed to fight SIM box fraud through real time monitoring with the assistance of SIGOS, a global expert in real time SIM box fraud monitoring.

By Times Reporter

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