Government Implements Ban on Bulk SIM Card Purchases; Mandates Mandatory Police Verification for Dealers

In a decisive move to counter instances of fraud within the telecommunications sector, the Indian government has introduced fresh regulatory measures. Among these measures is the compulsory requirement for police verification of SIM card dealers.

Summary :

  • Mandatory Police Verification of SIM Card Dealers Enforced by Indian Government.
  • Crackdown on Illicit Activities: Suspension of Bulk Connections to Thwart Fraudulent Endeavors
  • Government Takes Swift Action: Blacklisting Thousands of Dealers, Disabling Millions of Mobile Connections.

In a proactive move aimed at curbing the escalating incidents of fraud within the telecommunications sector, the Indian government has instituted a new directive mandating the police verification of SIM card dealers. This strategic measure has been enacted to thwart the infiltration of unauthorized entities into the industry and to eradicate any potential for fraud or criminal undertakings linked to the sale of SIM cards.

Simultaneously, the government has taken the decision to terminate the provision of bulk connections, a prevalent avenue exploited for illicit purposes such as the fabrication of false identities and the execution of deceitful transactions.

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw highlighted, “Our assessment of data and evidence underscores a pattern of collusion among dealers in cyber fraud, wherein perpetrators acquire numbers in bulk, employ them for fraudulent calls, and swiftly transition to new numbers.”

Vaishnaw further expounded that the process of validating SIM card dealers will be executed by either the “licensee” or the pertinent telecommunications operator. Violators of these regulations will incur a substantial penalty of Rs 10 lakh. “Any SIM dealers implicated in such machinations will face a fine of Rs 10 lakh,” Vaishnaw clarified.

These stringent measures align with the government’s commitment to safeguarding citizens’ welfare and maintaining the integrity of the telecommunications sector. By enforcing more rigorous regulations and implementing comprehensive verification protocols, the government aspires to establish a telecommunications landscape that is notably more secure and impervious to threats within the nation.

As part of an extensive campaign targeting digital fraud related to SIM cards, the minister revealed that the government has effectively deactivated 52 lakh mobile connections. Additionally, a blacklist now includes 67,000 dealers. Since May 2023, a concerted effort has led to the initiation of 300 FIRs against SIM card dealers.

Complementing the government’s endeavors, WhatsApp has also embarked on counter-fraud measures within its platform. The company has invalidated around 66,000 accounts implicated in fraudulent activities. This encompasses accounts employed for dispensing spam messages, circulating phishing links, and disseminating other malicious content.

Meanwhile, Mr. Vaishnaw asserted that the 10 lakh SIM card dealers will receive ample time for verification. A novel concept termed “business connection” will be introduced, wherein corporate subscribers must undergo KYC (Know Your Customer) protocols upon obtaining a SIM.

The preexisting bulk system mandated companies to uphold records of individual subscribers. However, the novel business connection paradigm necessitates that companies authenticate the KYC of the individual physically acquiring the SIM card. This systematic approach aims to substantially diminish fraud.

Further enhancing the verification process, physical Aadhaar printouts or cards serving as identity or address validation must be authenticated by scanning the QR code. This procedure is poised to fortify the legitimacy of the provided information.

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