Group financially, socially duping people
Anisha (pseudonym), who is currently employed at a multinational company, changed her personal phone number two years ago and created an account on a social networking site using that number. A few months later, she deactivated her social media account.
Recently, she was shocked to discover her old social account had been reactivated, and the perpetrator was demanding money while displaying her personal pictures. Her pictures had been restored on her old social media account.
The victim went to Sabujbagh Thana in the capital and filed a general diary (GD) to explain her situation. The investigating officer, Sub-Inspector Md Atiq, said police arrested a person named Sujan Kumar from outside Dhaka by tracing the location of the phone number.
During the preliminary inquiry, Sujan claimed that while opening a new Facebook ID with a new SIM card, he found another account on Facebook with the same number. Later, he logged in and demanded money using that ID.
Like Anisha, several people are currently facing similar deceptions.
According to law enforcement agencies, a group of miscreants has been financially and socially duping people for a long time using recycled SIMs due to the customers’ lack of awareness and the irresponsibility of mobile operators. They have received numerous written complaints from victims.
Recently, a teenager named Rafiqul Islam Bappi was arrested along with three accomplices by the Cyber Terrorism Investigation Team of the Dhaka Cyber Crime Investigation Department. Three mobile phones and 17 recycled SIMs were recovered from them.
Sources said Bappi had been arrested two years ago for allegedly cloning the official phone number of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner.
How many SIMs are recycled?
According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) data, among the operators, Grameenphone has sold the highest number of recycled SIMs, totaling 62,584,397 SIMs recycled, so far. Of these, the operator has sold around 59,650,320 SIMs.
Meanwhile, Robi Axiata has recycled 39,471,634 SIMs and sold 263,682 SIMs. Banglalink has recycled 7,377,502 SIMs and sold 6,893,507 SIMs.
Teletalk has not yet started SIM recycling.
Unused SIM ownership duration
According to BTRC guidelines, if a SIM remains inactive for approximately 500 or 480 consecutive days and is not activated during this period, it no longer belongs to the customer.
Operators initiate SIM recycling by issuing notices on their websites, on the BTRC platform, and in newspapers.
BTRC officials informed Dhaka Tribune that in 2017, the operators faced a crisis in selling new connections, leading to a relaxation of SIM ownership conditions to overcome the crisis.
Following this decision, Grameenphone began selling 30 million old connections of the 017 series. Subsequently, other operators also began recycling SIMs.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, officials of Grameenphone and Banglalink said that it is not possible for the operator to protect customers’ Facebook and e-banking accounts. They suggested that customers exercise caution.
Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar also recommended blocking all services before a SIM is disconnected, or finding alternative ways to prevent unwanted situations.
The minister added that effective measures would be taken to prevent such deception.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.