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Gujarat: Fraudsters clone, use 500 active SIM cards

The next time you get your telephone bill, take a good look at the details. And, if you spot a call made to an unknown number, your sim card might just have been used by cyber criminals to carry out digital fraud.

A special team of the city police, which is investigating a sim card skimming racket with roots in north Gujarat, have found that the fraudsters had nearly 500 active cards which were being used by two people simultaneously: the owner and the cyber crook.

Till now, scamsters were using inactive sim cards to dupe people. However, the revelation that anyone’s sim card can be used to commit fraud while they were still using it has left everyone shocked.

“The accused stole data regarding active numbers from telecom companies or banks using the dark web. They cloned the sim cards and used it either in call centre rackets to dupe foreign nationals or to extort money from someone. They would use the sim cards for a day or two. The real user would never even find out about it,” said a police officer.

The cyber criminals mainly used sim cards used by the original user for a large volume of calls. “This decreased the chances of discovery as the sim card owner is unlikely to go through details of the bill and find out about the calls s/ he did not make,” said police.

Cops probing involvement of telecom company employees
Police sources said that an inquiry has been initiated to check whether telecom company employees are involved in sharing data of customers with the fraudsters.

The racket came to light following the arrest of Vijaysinh Jhala of Aniyol village in Talod taluka of Sabarkantha for allegedly selling sim cards illegally.

Later, it was found that he was only a delivery man working for a gang.

“The gang had around 20,000 sim cards out of which nearly 500 were found to be active. During Jhala’s questioning, police also found that the gang had also been selling bank accounts, digital wallets, and OTT app access credentials. These activities are flourishing in rural areas of north Gujarat mainly Sabarkantha, Aravalli and Banaskantha districts. The city crime branch filed an FIR against unknown persons on October 10. Times of India

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