Central Government Mandates Police Verification for SIM Dealers
Union Telecom Minister Announces Measures to Prevent Cyber Fraud Through SIM Cards. Major Reforms in the Telecom Sector Aimed at Protecting Users
In a significant move against SIM-related fraud, the central government has introduced stringent rules for SIM card dealers in the country. The government is now mandating all mobile phone SIM vendors to undergo police verification, including their biometric information, to curb the rising instances of fraud and misuse via mobile phone SIMs.
The Union Telecom Minister, Ashwani Vaishnav, announced these reforms in a recent statement. He emphasized that the goal behind these changes is to shield users from potential cyber frauds.
Ban on Bulk SIM Purchases:
Addressing the reforms, Minister Vaishnav detailed the ban on the bulk purchase of SIMs. Instead, business connections will be provided, necessitating a registration process. The rule mandates that every individual obtaining a business connection will need to complete a KYC (Know Your Customer) verification.
Moreover, Minister Vaishnav made it clear that the onus of responsibility will now fall upon the SIM sellers. Any misconduct or inappropriate sale can result in severe repercussions for the dealer, ensuring a safer telecommunications environment for the end-users.
Actions Taken by Central Government:
Highlighting the government’s proactive approach towards combating fraud, the Union Minister provided some statistics:
- Through the Sanchar Portal, 52 lakh fake connections have been nullified.
- A total of 67,000 dealers have faced blacklisting measures.
- Cyber fraud has led to the registration of 300 FIRs.
- Action has been taken on 17,000 mobile handsets, resulting in their blocking.
- A significant number, 67,000 WhatsApp accounts, have been blocked.
- Additionally, 100,000 payment accounts faced blocking actions.
In a positive turn, three lakh stolen mobile phones have been returned to their rightful owners.
The cap on the number of SIMs purchasable by an individual remains at nine.
Towards a Digital KYC System:
Minister Vaishnav announced the imminent shift to a digital KYC process. Under the new system, verifying the QR code of the Aadhaar card will be essential when purchasing a SIM card. This change aims to eliminate the possibility of document manipulation through programs like Photoshop.
However, to ensure a smooth transition, the Minister confirmed that the approximately 10 lakh SIM dealers across the country would be given ample time to complete their police verifications.
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