Massive Rica SIM card fraud exposed

A law designed to help law-enforcement agencies to track and monitor criminals through the creation of a cellphone database appears to be toothless‚ The Times newspaper reported.

An investigation by The Times has found that Rica – the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act – is being flouted.

Thousands of cellphone SIM cards registered fraudulently in terms of Rica are on street corners and in phone shops across the country.

For as little R6‚ and without proof of identity or residence‚ The Times was able to buy MTN‚ Vodacom and Cell C SIM cards that had already been Rica-registered from a Johannesburg street trader.

A second trader told the newspaper he had both registered and unregistered SIM cards for sale.

Forensic investigator Riana Smalberger identified several ways in which vendors can obtain Rica-compliant SIM cards illegally:

  • Through the use of insiders at mobile service providers. “They are very well organised. They use false identity documents and false addresses.”
  • Through access to a Rica machine, while only licensed cellphone providers should have them, an investigation in the Johannesburg CBD recovered a Rica machine in a mobile phone shop. Traders used it to activate cards using false IDs and addresses.
  • Mobile operators used sub-contractors, who did not always exercise proper control over the machines.

Source: RDM News Wire

This article first appeared in The Times

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Massive Rica SIM card fraud exposed