Telcos Instructed to Stop Selling Pre-Activated SIMs Post Bhubaneswar Case

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The Bhubaneswar commiserate police after having been alarmed by the seizure of around 16,000 illegally activated SIM cars beforehand by a criminal gang on Tuesday, wrote to the telecom operators to strengthen their subscriber verification systems to avoid such kinds of happenings which make it hard to trace these criminals.

In relation to this, seven people, including two employees of a private telecom company were arrested on Thursday for allegedly selling these pre-activated SIM cards to cyber-criminals located in different states.

As per an order issued by the DoT or Department of Telecommunications on August 9, 2012, the sale of pre-activated SIM cards was deemed illegal, with any entity promoting such things instructed to have been penalized Rs 50,000.

However, the police did mention that they are alert as the illegal sale and purchase of pre-activated SIM cards continues in Odisha despite crackdowns from time to time.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Uma Shankar Dash stated that We have asked the telecom service providers to stop perfunctory verification of subscribers.

What Does the Police Have to Say

Since the final activation is done at the telecom operators’ end, the onus lies on them. It is not possible to issue pre-activated SIM cards if telecom operators do a proper verification.

The Police also mentioned that the SIM cards cannot be activated until and unless the details of customers are on offer in the central database of the specific service providers.

According to the pre-existing DoT norms, the person at the PoS or point of sale should get the CAF form or customer acquisition form duty filled and signed by the specific subscriber. The authorised person at the PoS is required to record the CAF that the consumer has seen the subscriber and has matched the photograph attached on the CAF.

The mobile connection will be activated post fulfilment of all requirements, both from the customer's side and the operator's side and after the details have been updated by the subscriber database.

The commissionerate police also warned of legal action against such telecom firms if the employees are found to be selling pre-activated SIM cards to achieve their set sales targets.

Dash added that we would be taking some of the accused on remand to identify their other gang members. We may write to WhatsApp to know if any of the pre-activated SIM cards were used by anyone.

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Shloke is your go-to guy when it comes to consumer tech. Specializing in In-Depth pieces, he's also getting to grips with Telecom. His hobbies consist of Formula One and Gaming.


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