ibnlive » India

Sep 25, 2010 at 09:19am IST

Over 75% SIMs in Mumbai bought using fake IDs

Mumbai: With the Games barely a week away, security has been spruced up not just in Delhi but all metros. In the midst of this, a survey by the Mumbai Police has found astonishing figures showing a clear rise in the number of prepaid SIM cards given using fake ID proof. In fact, the state government has stepped in to clean up the mess.

Recently, a terror e-mail was sent by the Indian Mujahideen using a mobile connection procured fraudulently. And it may take a while before the police zero in on the sender of the mail.

But what’s worrying the Mumbai Police even more is the astonishing rise in the usage of prepaid SIM cards using fake id proofs.

Sanjeev Dayal, Mumbai’s Commissioner of Police, said: “According to our survey, roughly 60 per cent of the mobile connections have been procured using fake documents. It’s a big problem and we are talking to the service provides as well as the distributors to address the issue.”

In a small exercise undertaken by the Mumbai Police, over 12,000 prepaid numbers were selected randomly from across networks. It was found that over 75 per cent of these were procured using bogus documents. In most cases it was found that the address proof and the photographs submitted were invalid.

While clear rules for activation have been laid down, the primary onus of verification lies on the service provider.

R R Patil, Home Minister, Maharashtra, said: “We are going to seize such fake SIM cards and take strict action against those who sell SIM cards without proper verification. But while we can ensure verification within the state, it’s not difficult to get a bogus card from outside.”

Iftikar Sheikh, a SIM card distributor has now started implementing all the rules very seriously. This registry is one such step in the process. “We take two documents and two photographs from the customers, one of which is for our records and the other is submitted to the company. After 15 days or a month of submitting the documents the police comes and checks our register to find out which number belongs to whom,” he said.

With increasing awareness on the threat perception to Mumbai, dealers like Sheikh believe small steps will go a long way in ensuring safety.