SIM fraud helping criminals hide their trace, say Bengaluru police
The police said in two cases, the dealers kept the Aadhaar details of those applying for a SIM and issuing SIM cards to some unknown people.india Updated: Jan 13, 2018 20:40 IST
The police in Bengaluru have discovered at least two instances of criminals using SIM cards — obtained through the Aadhaar authentication of someone else — to avoid being tracked down by the officers hunting for them.
In both cases, the police said, the dealers kept the Aadhaar details of those applying for a SIM and issuing SIM cards to some unknown people.
Some network operators offer up to 10 SIM cards to a person after identifying his or her Aadhaar details. Police said that the dealers used this policy to obtain the SIM cards fraudulently.
While investigating the case of missing techie Ajitabh Kumar, the police found that the last person to contact him on December 18 used a phone having an Aadhaar-authenticated SIM card, registered in someone else’s name.
The person had contacted Kumar to buy his car, which was put on sale through an online portal.
“When we tried to trace the phone number of the buyer registered on the site the trail led us to another person who had never purchased such a SIM,” a police officer said, adding that his biometric authentication for the Reliance Jio SIM was recorded.
When questioned, the person told police that he had visited the store but never purchased any SIM.
“This person, who is illiterate, was asked to provide biometric authentication by the dealer. However, that person did not get the SIM, and the dealer has confessed to having sold it for Rs 1,000 to some unknown person,” the officer said, refusing to divulge more details of the Sim card dealer as the missing techie is yet to be found.
A Reliance Jio spokesperson said the biometric authentication system followed by the company was very secure and any malpractice was easy to detect. “We follow a two-step authentication process for SIM card purchases where the dealer and the buyer both provide their biometrics. In this way, we can track down the dealer if any malpractice has occurred,” the spokesperson said.
In the second case, a gang of 10 robbers had allegedly got SIM cards using similar modus operandi a day before they committed dacoity in house of one Mahadevaiah in Bengaluru last August.
A senior police officer said the SIM was registered in the name of Chandraiah, who had purchased a SIM from the dealer, Praveen, by giving him a photocopy of his Aadhar letter. “The dealer made multiple photocopies of the card and registered SIM cards in Chandraiah’s name,” the officer said.
While Praveen has been booked for abetting the crime, police are worried about the potential misuse of the policy to issue multiple SIM cards for one Aadhaar authentication.