The Ministry of Interior has admitted that SIMs activated fraudulently via different fraudulent techniques like silicon thumb impressions are being used for unsolicited calls.
According to the official documents during the current year under Section 13, 14, 17 of PECA-2016, the Cyber Crime Wing FIA has received a total of 4,547 complaints about these unsolicited/fraudulent calls involving the financial deception of common people.
Out of 4,547 complaints, 1,815 were converted into regular inquiries, and 145 cases were also registered in this regard. In 2019, 1,798 inquiries and 158 cases were registered by the FIA Cyber Crime Wing, and 3,706 inquiries and 154 cases were registered in 2020.
“It is fact that Cybercrime FIA assists PTA in tracking and tracking the owner of such SIMs and interrogates them. During interrogation, it revealed that all such SIMs were activated fraudulently by using different fraudulent techniques like silicon thumb impression etc.” the ministry stated.
It further admitted, “ Yes it is possible that after biometric verification such SIMs used for unsolicited calls, under section 17 of PECA-2016 “unauthorized issuance of SIMs cards” is the mandate of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to check and monitor the illegally SIMs biometric verification”.
During the current year, the CCW-FIA registered five FIRs u/s 16, 17, and 15 accused were arrested, and it recovered 75 BVS devices, 14,533 SIMs, and 1,408 silicon thumb impression and 3,000 sheets.
In 2019 and 2020, the Cyber Crime FIA registered 90 FIRs and 300 inquiries, 107 accused were arrested, and it recovered 17 BVS devices, 25,192 SIMs, and 6,446 silicon thumbs impressions along with a voter list.
The loss averted during 2019 and 2020 was Rs.71.99 million, and the estimated cost of the confiscated items was Rs. 91.76 million.
The Cyber Crime FIA has established a special team in every cybercrime reporting center to deal with complaints about unsolicited callers who defrauded common people and collaborates with the PTA to crack down on such franchises that fraudulently activate SIMs. The PTA is the authority to monitor the activation of such SIMs, it added.