Crackdown! Govt stops issuance of bulk connections, police verification mandatory for SIM card dealers

In a big crackdown against wrongdoers, the government on Thursday discontinued the issuance of bulk connections, while also making police verification mandatory for SIM card dealers, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

| Updated on: Aug 17 2023, 18:06 IST
SIM card
SIM card dealers will now require mandatory police verification. (Pixabay)
SIM card
SIM card dealers will now require mandatory police verification. (Pixabay)

In an effort to curb fraudulent activities conducted via multiple SIM cards, the Government of India on Thursday announced a crackdown on the provision of bulk mobile connections. SIM card dealers will now have to go through a mandatory police verification before being allowed to deal in the same, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced.

Crackdown on bulk connections, SIM card dealers

The minister said that the government has disconnected almost 52 lakh mobile connections in its efforts to reduce the scams and frauds that are carried out. By using multiple SIMs, criminals can even utilize several WhatsApp accounts to carry out their illicit activities. As such, WhatsApp on its own has blocked over 66000 accounts that were involved in the same. The government said that 8 lakh payment wallet accounts were being used to carry out fraudulent transactions.

Moreover, as many as 67000 SIM card dealers have been blacklisted. This move comes after it was reported that nearly 300 FIRs have been filed against SIM card dealers since May 2023. At present, there are around 10 lakh SIM card dealers in the country. Going forward, they will be provided sufficient time to complete the police verification process.

"Now we have made police verification of SIM dealers mandatory to curb frauds. Penalty of 10 lakh will be imposed on dealers found violating norms," Vaishnaw said.

As part of this crackdown, 17000 devices, which were reported lost or stolen, have also been blacklisted. The government has utilized its Sanchar Sathi portal and returned 3000 handsets that were lost or stolen to their original owners.

The Department of Telecommunications has also discontinued the issuance of bulk connections. “Following a detailed study, analysis of bulk connections, along with field evidence study, it has been concluded that we will discontinue bulk connection system”, the minister added. Instead, the government will introduce a new concept of business connection that will require registration with the authorities through KYC.

With these measures in place, there will be a significant decrease in the number of cybercrimes and fraudulent activities, Vaishnaw said.

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First Published Date: 17 Aug, 17:23 IST
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