Gujarat: More Than 29,000 Fraudulent Sim Cards Identified; Fake Points Of Sale Booked

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Gujarat: More Than 29,000 Fraudulent Sim Cards Identified; Fake Points Of Sale Booked

| Updated: April 17, 2023 14:42

Rising cybercrime levels, while pointing at the pitfalls of faceless communication, also question the complicit role of sim sellers or point of sale (PoS) issuing sim on fake documents. Remember, fraudulent calls cannot be made without a sim. 

Seeking to end the rot at point of origin, and going past telecom service providers, the Department of Telecom (DoT) in a first such effort, recently collaborated with the state cyber cell of Gujarat CID crime and the ATS’s special operations group (SOG) for a state-wide joint operation against sim sellers or point of sale (PoS) issuing sim on fake documents.

Notably, most of these sims were activated between 2020 and 2022, the years most affected by the pandemic. Based on preliminary interrogation of the booked PoS, sellers stated that a significant portion of the fraud was undertaken to fulfil targets given by the concerned telecom companies.

According to police officials, in the three days — from April 10 to April 13 — 15 FIRs have been registered against 37 individuals or points of sale in the state. The DoT Gujarat had identified around 29,552 cases of sim cards issued on basis of fraudulent documents. A large number of forms accessed even have the same photo but different names and addresses.

In a bid to tackle the menace, DoT put to use its indigenously developed cross-check tool for verification. The “Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition Powered Solution for Telecom Sim Subscriber Verification (ASTR)” will help detect and weed out suspect sims. 

The tool used the computing power of India’s supercomputer “Param” at C-DAC. DoT ran the ASTR over the existing 8.12 crore subscribers’ customer application forms (CAF) database – that was provided by all the telecom service providers in Gujarat – and identified 486 groups where similar photographs were found with different names.

With a threshold of 20 or more subscribers in a group, the DoT identified 29,552 subscribers in these 486 groups. “The process of weeding out more such frauds is on. The 37 individuals or points of sale that issued more than 7,000 fake sim cards have been booked by the Gujarat Police,” shared Gujarat DoT director, Sumit Mishra.

Also Read: Gujarat: Nearly 25,000 Sextortion Victims Registered With State Cyber Cell; Hackers Thrive On Anonymity

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