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SIM card fraudsters arrested in Ghana

By , Editor, ITWeb Africa
Ghana , 20 Jun 2012

SIM card fraudsters arrested in Ghana

Seven people have been arrested in Ghana for illegally using SIM box devices to channel calls away from telecom operators at a lower cost.

Vodafone Ghana, in collaboration with police in that country, clamped down on the activities of SIM box operators in Teshie Nungua, a suburb of Accra and other parts of the country, according to the Ghana News Agency.

The raid led to the retrieval of 25 SIM boxes, valued at approximately $1 million, and the arrest of seven individuals.

SIM box devices make it possible for individuals or groups of people to buy cheap SIM cards to make long-distance or international calls, which are then registered as local calls on operators’ networks, resulting in losses for telcos.

Vodafone Ghana says that the latest capture of the seven fraudsters could have prevented $3.7 million in revenue loss for the government and the industry.

“This is so far the highest detection we have made,” said the head of corporate security at Vodafone Ghana, Raymond Xaba.

“We are glad that our constant surveillance has led to the arrest of these fraudsters whose operations not only affect us as a network, but also robs the country of large amounts of revenue which may have otherwise been used to undertake development projects,” he added.

However, Ghana’s latest raid and subsequent arrests have again highlighted how big a problem SIM box fraud is in Ghana.

In May last year, Vodafone Ghana’s Fraud team, together with the police’s anti-fraud unit, embarked on a joint operation that led to the seizure of SIM fraud equipment valued at $200,000.

Furthermore, Airtel Ghana’s revenue assurance manager, Nixon Wampamba, said this year that the telco is losing $500,000 per month owing to the crime.

Mobile anti-fraud and security services company Revector says SIM Card fraud also occurs in countries such as Kenya, and that the illegal activity costs the continent’s operators $150 million in lost revenue.

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