The Uganda Police together with Uganda Communications Commission have apprehended eight people suspected to be engaged in SIM boxing electronic fraud.
SIM boxing is a practice in telecommunications whereby a person or group of people set-up a device that can take up several SIM cards (a SIM box). They then use it to complete international calls it receives from the Internet as voice over IP (VoIP) and in turn serve them to the in-country mobile network subscribers as local traffic.
Ibrahim Bbossa, the Head of Public and International Relations revealed results of the operation and also shared details of an ongoing investigation, in a press brief at the Uganda Police Headquarters Naguru today.
“During the operation, we were able to identify and confiscate two SIM boxes in Nakawa of which one had 32 SIM cards and the other 1,024 SIM cards,” Bbossa said.
The technology allows one to modify international calls into local phone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of an analogue phone line.
Bbossa said that the Sim Boxing syndicate buys Sim Cards from thugs that snatch phones from unsuspecting members of the public. According to UCC, street phone snatchers sell the Sim Cards to Sim Boxing gangs at a fee of 100,000 Shillings.
The crackdown on Sim Boxing comes a fortnight after the Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen Sabiiti Muzeeyi held a meeting with UCC and telecom companies to forge way forward in the wake of multiple Simcard registrations and international calls disguisers.
In the meeting, which was held on January 11, police warned that multiple Sim Card registration was facilitating crime. It was established that some registration centres had unscrupulous people who were using details of individuals to register other Sim Cards.
Sabiiti tasked telecom companies to put in place mechanisms to closely monitor the registration of Sim Cards to protect customers’ data from being misused.
A team was also put in place to review ways in which Sim Card registration can further be enhanced to promote the safety and security of users and the general public. At least eight suspects were arrested in weekend operations conducted in the areas of Masanafu, Rubaga Division, Clement Hill, Central Division and Nakawa Market.
Bbossa says the schemes by gangs with knowledge on Information Communication Technology- ICT, have led to an immense loss to telecoms and government.
Bbossa who was backed by Deputy Police Spokesperson Polly Namaye cautioned the public to always report cases of lost Sim Cards so that they avoid being coined in crimes committed by gangs. Police said the only way one could be exonerated is when they present a reference of a case opened at the police station on the day the Sim Card was lots.