An unsuspicious act of purchasing a mobile SIM card for a friend, associate or even a relative, can land persons in jail if the phone number is linked to any criminal activity.
This is according to the country’s Crime Chief and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Lyndon Alves, who bears responsibility for law enforcement in the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
During an interview with <<<Inews>>>, he explained the implications of purchasing a SIM card and giving that SIM to another person instead of using it for your own purposes.
“If you go [to] the service providers to obtain a SIM card, they require your proof of address, photo identification and such, just like it is in any other country. Now, SIM cards are commonly used in the execution of criminal activities all over and we know this. Therefore, the person under whose name such SIM cards are registered under will have to be held accountable,” the Crime Chief said.
He said that there are many cases where persons try to assist a relative or friend in obtaining a SIM card for their cellular phone, and the person(s) in need may not have met the requirements for purchasing a SIM card at the time that he/she needs it. However, the Deputy Police Commissioner advised that persons be cautious if they choose to do this as part of assisting others.
“People unconsciously go out and buy a SIM card to help people out without thinking it through. There are implications that they [purchaser] can face if those SIMs are used to even send threatening messages to others and reports are made to the police about that. Even if the persons bought the SIMs and are not using it they will be investigated and have to deal with the police so that their stories can be verified but they can end up in trouble too if the police cannot verify their explanations,” Alves noted.
Globally, criminals continue to exploit prepaid SIM cards as an anonymous channel of communications for their illicit activities and this has resulted in some countries implementing revised limits to reduce the security risks associated with the anonymous use of prepaid SIM cards.
Fraudulently registered prepaid cards have been used to perpetrate criminal activities including unlicensed moneylending, cheating scams, vice-related and gambling-related activities. For example, unlicensed moneylending syndicates have been found to make use of prepaid SIM cards for communication with debtors and among syndicate members in support of their illegal activities.
In some cases, SIM cards purchased in one country and are on the roaming service have been recorded as being used in acts of terrorism in other countries.