Communication Experts have told New Age Ibrahim Samura that the trade ‘Simbox’ is widespread and has caused government and mobile operators losing millions of dollars.
They say it is difficult for SIMBOX fraudsters to enjoyably succeed without the due connivance of communication insiders.
And sources say the fraudsters may have been getting supports from unknown Russian operatives, who, in connivance with certain unscrupulous forces, have been milking dry the country of its needed revenue.
Meanwhile, Airtel which Network is most targeted has said such a fraud may not be unconnected to Simbox, but assured ‘moves are underway to have the perpetrators fished out and brought to book.’
Samuella, Airtel’s Public Relations Person admits Simbox has been a pain in their necks, and that as a company, they (Airtel) would certainly not take a softer line of approach but selflessly work in partnership with NATCOM to fish out persons involved in such a trade.
Although Samuella denied that the tapping of subscribers’ numbers by unknown fraudsters has nothing to do with terrorism, our findings are that terrorists may equally also use such a means to recruit people.
Sierra Leoneans using the Airtel network have expressed concern over communication insecurity vis-à-vis calls and messages frequently received from numbers bearing codes of countries the likes of Nicaragua, New Papua Guinea, others etc.
Their fears are that in this day and age where apparently terrorism is of world concern, they (Airtel subscribers) have been troubled with the frequency of such calls and have blamed country’s regulatory body for given a blind eye to issues of economic and security concerns.
This, they say, has created grave panic amongst considerable number of Airtel mobile users.
Aminata Baryoh, a subscriber, explained how for every two/three days she will receive calls from unknown numbers and from countries she neither has a relative nor a friend.
Momoh Sesay equally has expressed frustration over what he called: “an out of the ordinary calls” to his Airtel number, which according to him, is endangering his privacy and exposing him to insecurity.
“It is either someone is hacking us or Airtel as a company has exposed us to would-be terrorists. We are certainly not safe at all,” he said.
It could be recalled that in March this year, the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), fewer civil society organizations, mobile operators and service providers (Airtel, Africell, ONLIME, Iptel, Sierratel) met at the Bintumani hotel hall, where incidentally they agreed on %50 tariff increment on voice calls on the pretext that within four months they (the operators/service providers) will necessarily improve on their networks.
But that in just two months of such an undertaking, numbers believed to be terrorists prone have had enjoying times tapping private numbers of hundreds of Airtel subscribers, in a manner completely suspicious as they do things uncalled for of society unrestricted.
Our attention is also drawn to the frequently used strange numbers as we here published same verbatim: +675708894113, +67570897812, +232722258384, etc.
Abdul Kuyateh, Director of Corporate Affairs at NATCOM admits his commission has had timeless moments fishing out Simbox fraudsters for prosecution.
He said NATCOM has even set aside a whooping fifty million leones ransom for person (s) helping in the arrest of any such fraudsters.
More on this next edition.