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15.10.2019 Opinion

October 2020 SIM Card Registration Deadline - First Step To Ending Mobile Telephony Fraud

By Mohammed Abdul Hanan EL-Saeed 
October 2020 SIM Card Registration Deadline  - First Step To Ending Mobile Telephony Fraud
LISTEN OCT 15, 2019

Almost every mobile device user has on one occasion or another received strange calls or messages aimed at defrauding you or threaten or even try to get you off your feet, so they can take advantage of you.

This is usually because, those who make or send those messages, know that because of the inherent loopholes in the existing mobile SIM card registration regime, it will be difficult for them to be picked up to face the law. It is because of this reason that SIM card registration using valid national identification cards has become very critical more than ever before.

Again, it is for this reason that the SIM card re-registration exercise announced by the communication ministry today is a welcoming piece of news that we should all embrace and support.

SIM card registration if done properly can eliminate all these fraudulent mobile money transactions and the advantage taken by the criminal fringe of society to exploit the loopholes in the existing card registration system to defraud unsuspecting or gullible people in our society.

SIM card registration allows the state to know the identity of the owner of a SIM card, and thus who is most likely making a call or sending a message, from where and to whom. So that, in case criminality is occasioned using mobile telephony, the state will be in proper stead, working with its investigative machinery will be able to uncover what may have happened.

As a condition for the purchase or activation of a SIM card, the user is asked to provide personal data as well as a valid ID.

We have gotten to stage in our lives that the existential threat posed Criminal Minds coupled with their ever-increasing sophistry, in committing very serious crimes such as kidnappings, murders, terrorism, piracy, carjacking, and so on relying on or taking advantage of mobile communication.

Because of this, governments the world over, working with their private sector partners in the business of providing mobile communication systems, have instituted mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards to serve as a countervailing measure to stop the criminal gangs in tracks before they set out to commit crimes.

SIM card registration is a policy that a number of governments have adopted in recent years to sanitize the mobile communication operations and usage. It requires consumers to provide proof of identity in order to activate a prepaid mobile SIM card.

In Ghana, several attempts have been made to register all SIM cards, but it thus appears that these efforts have either not been enough or has not been well planned, coordinated or implemented which has left gaping holes in the system for criminals to take advantage of.

It was therefore refreshing to hear from the communication ministry today that plans are far afoot for all SIM cards in the country to be registered by June 2020 or get blocked.

When this promised re-registration is carried out properly, it will go a long way to reduce criminality in general and also completely eliminate or reduce all fraudulent activities that are carried out using the mobile telephony window.

It is my considered hope that this time around, all good citizens of the country will support the process and submit themselves for registration to help the security agencies in their efforts at reducing crime or the fear of crime.

Mohammed Abdul Hanan EL-Saeed
Police Headquarters

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