Kenyan officials swoop on SIM box fraudsters

The Communications Authority of Kenya has announced that one person has been arrested and nearly 6000 SIM cards seized in a raid on an illegal SIM box outfit in Nairobi.

Announcing the latest crackdown today, CA Board Chairman Ngene Gituku said the raid followed a similar one in November last year, when the Authority discovered atwooped on SIM fraudsters at the 680 Hotel in Nairobi.

In the latest crackdown, a dispute between a landlord and his tenants resulted in a police investigation, which turned up communications equipment that they suspected were being used for illegal communication services. The police called in the Authority, whose officers confirmed that the activities involved illegal international call termination using SIM box devices in breach of the ICT sector law.  

“Consequently, the police jointly with the officers of the Authority recovered four SIM box equipment with a combined capacity to hold 144 SIM cards that can simultaneously make calls. Also recovered, were a total of 5,827 SIM cards from the local mobile service providers. In particular, the officers found 3,017 SIM cards from Orange, 2,678 SIM cards from Airtel, 52 branded Yu SIM cards and 80 SIM cards from Safaricom. The police arrested one suspect for further questioning,” he said.  

SIM boxing involves termination of international traffic using illegal routes. The perpetrators use what is known as SIM box, a device that holds stacks of SIM cards on one side and is connected to the Internet on the other side. Instead of international calls coming in through the traditional international gateways, these operators receive the calls through the internet and then using the SIM box, re-originate the calls through the stacks of SIM cards as if the calls are being originated by local customers.

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