Have you ever received an international call, whose quality was very poor, a lot of delays, and most importantly, the number calling you appeared as a local call instead of the international format? Well, you might as well being a victim of SIM box Fraud.
Reports show that Kenya government is losing up to $150 million every year to fraudsters who illegally terminate international calls as local calls.
This is the new headache that mobile operators are now facing, something that might down the mobile industry’s developments in Africa.
SIM box fraud and International Revenue Share Fraud (IRS) is one of the most damaging telecom frauds globally. It destroys carrier interconnect agreements, denying operators millions of dollars in revenues. It also destroys relationships between operators and their customers.
According to Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) global fraud loss survey (2013), communication fraud attributed to this is in about $2b annually. It is also worth noting that quality of SIM boxing calls is mediocre so customers end up spending more while government and regulators getting less.
Kenya is taking the lead in East Africa to curb the growing menace of illegal Sim Box businesses that are eating into tax revenues from telecoms and encouraging communications insecurity.
The Director General of the Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya Francis Wangusi revealed that the Communications Authority has written to telecom operators in the country notifying them of impending inspection on their switches. The CA is also contemplating to acquire a monitoring system to be used in monitoring telecom traffic entering the country to be able to avoid any traffic coming through sim boxes.
One of the telecom operators have welcome the move by CA terming it a bold move to curb hacking in the country.
In January this year according to a by Africa Report publication, in , Ghanaian anti-fraud agencies arrested local residents and foreigners engaged in SIM Box fraud, diverting more than $100 million from the coffers of the West African country. The activities of the fraudsters had led to a revenue loss of US $33 million dollars within a five to seven month period.
The move by CA will help develop the telecom infrastructure and also generate more revenue to the country.