Detectives arrest 11, recover equipment in SIM card fraud crackdown

Customers at a Safaricom shop in Nakuru. FILE
Customers at a Safaricom shop in Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Detectives on Saturday arrested 11 suspects in connection with unlawful registration of SIM cards.

They also recovered two laptops and 15,000 SIM cards during the operation.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations Sunday said in a tweet that they confiscated four mobile money agent lines, two Safaricom #ticker:SCOM and one Airtel registration booklets, an agent number and ATM cards from the suspects. They also recovered a Safaricom modem and several mobile phones. The suspects will be taken to court Monday.

The suspects are believed to be part of a network behind the recent spate of SIM swapping where Kenyans have lost money. Their arrests come days after the capture of several other sim fraud suspects. Last Tuesday, two Safaricom employees were arrested in Eldoret in connection with SIM-swap fraud.

On July 21, detectives said they had arrested another Safaricom employee and a university student the previous day and seized 2,160 unused Safaricom SIM cards and three M-Pesa Safaricom booklets from the suspects.

The Communications Authority of Kenya recently warned mobile phone users against disclosing sensitive personal identification information (PIN) to third parties.

In the SIM card swap fraud, a fraudster usually makes a call pretending to be an employee of a mobile network operator.

When a mobile user picks the call, the fraudster asks the unsuspecting mobile subscriber to share their information such as their national ID number, mobile money PIN, or SIM card PIN, among others.

After obtaining the information, the fraudster then goes ahead to swap the SIM card— thereby gaining access to all the SIM services, including mobile money transfer, mobile and internet banking, voice calls, SMS, data services and any other service that can be accessed through the SIM.