TCRA disables 17, 300 fraudsters’ phone lines

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 08:01 AM May 28 2024
Dr Jabir Bakari, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) director general
Photo: Courtesy of TCRA
Dr Jabir Bakari, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) director general

UPWARDS of 17,300 simcards have been deactivated due to being used in multiple dubious acts as well as online criminal activities over the last three months.

Dr Jabir Bakari, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) director general, made this affirmation at a city press conference to present a sector performance report, noting that the rate of fraudulent incidents on the phone are on steady decrease.

Such incidents and actions taken dropped from 20,939 blacklisted simcards during October to December 2023 to 17,318 deactivated lines during the January to March 2024 period, a 15 per cent decrease.

Regions that were more affected by phone scams during March were Rukwa and Morogoro, with two thirds of the fraudulent acts registered during the month, he said, elaborating that with regions like Mbeya, Dar es Salaam and Tabora  the range of suspected criminal acts using phone lines stood at one per cent to ten per cent,  

Locations which reported few fraud attempts were mostly in Zanzibar, chiefly North Pemba and the Zanzibar South Region, he said, insisting that the proper and safe use of simcards is paramount to the sustainable growth of the country and improved living standards of the people. 

TCRA has ensured successful monitoring and identified fraudulent phone calls, with appropriate steps being taken, thus touching off a decrease in the number of recorded incidents, he said, affirming that the monitoring prevented sales of stolen, lost or damaged phones or those with deficiency of standards.

Sub-standard or counterfeit phone handsets were deactivated as part of mitigation measures enabling identification and deactivation of duplicate international mobile equipment identity (IMEIs) associated with fraudulent activities, or reported as lost or stolen, he explained.  

The regulatory body has continued to seek out various groups of users on safer and proper use of mobile phone services to shield users from online scammers, urging phone users “to remain vigilant and report any suspicious text messages or calls they receive.” 

Members of the public need to send phone numbers from the purported fraudsters to 15040 through short messages (SMS), as regulatory measures, including sanctions against culprits, will be implemented based on such notifications, he added.