8 arrested over fraudulent registering of prepaid SIM cards after islandwide raids on mobile phone shops
SINGAPORE: Eight people have been arrested on suspicion of fraudulently registering prepaid SIM cards, which may be used by criminals for anonymous communications on illicit activities, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in news release on Sunday (Aug 16).
Seven men and one woman aged between 19 and 55 were arrested after the police conducted simultaneous raids on 16 mobile phone shops in Ang Mo Kio, Changi, City Hall, Little India, Orchard, Ubi and Woodlands on Sunday.
The eight people were arrested for their "suspected involvement in fraudulently registering prepaid SIM cards using the particulars of unsuspecting customers or foreigners who have not entered Singapore", said the police.
Another 13 people – nine men and four women aged between 24 and 60 – are assisting with investigations.
Investigations showed that the mobile phone retailers had abused the computer systems holding registration information for prepaid SIM cards.
"They would then pre-register SIM cards using particulars of others and sell them to customers who wish to remain anonymous," SPF said.
Criminals exploit such fraudulently registered prepaid SIM cards as an anonymous channel of communications for unlicensed moneylending, scams and vice, among other illicit activities, said the police.
"For example, scam syndicates have been found to perpetuate their criminal activities by using such prepaid SIM cards to contact victims and amongst themselves to evade possible detection," SPF added.
Items seized during the operation included computer terminal devices, desktops, laptops, printers, mobile phones, invoices, photocopied passports, SIM cards and relevant documents, the police said.
Investigations are ongoing. If found guilty of unauthorised modification of computer material, those arrested could be fined up to S$10,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.
"The police will spare no effort to clamp down on such errant handphone shop dealers who may be indirectly facilitating illegal activities," said SPF.