French police have arrested nine people, including mobile telco employees, suspected of running a multi-million Euro telecom charges fraud that may have been going for almost a decade. The alleged scam involved the alleged purchase of codes to unlock SIM cards for as little as €3 from corrupt phone company employees, before …
Took them a long time!
5 years ago I bought a code online to unlock my BlackBerry. The vendor did not explain how he was getting the code, but I'm pretty sure that it involved a telco employee with access to the system used to provide unlocking numbers.
Now the real question is "how come it took them so long to notice?" A simple comparaison between the number of codes requested through the official channels and the number of codes issued would do the trick.
10 years! Mon Dieu!
Obviously someone's audit systems are very lax.
No wonder cell co's charge so much, they have to, with this sort of uncontrolled fraud - or could it be they make so much money they didn't notice thee losses?
Yes, it was the so much money bit.
As long as the money is pouring in and no one complains no one is going to verify anything...
Easy way to kill this fraud dead.
GIVE THE CODES OUT FOR FREE.
It's about time the EU forces the Telcos to give the codes out for nothing. Fine, force the user to complete their contract, but there should be no additional charge for the unlock code.
This must be a new-phone thing?
In France, after six months, your operator is obliged to provide you an unlock code, at no cost, and also some sort of number code (if possible) so that you can transfer your number to another operator. The only caveat is the sexy-phones bought for €1 on a contract tend to be tied for 12/24 months of contract. You can unlock it after six, but you'll have to continue with the contract all the same. Useful for PAYG though...
"Even foreign cards"
I wasn't aware of a different SIM card standard for non-French SIM cards.
I think that they mean once you unlock the phone, you can use any SIM card (provided your phone has the frequencies to work overseas.)
Perhaps if they were to ban the locking of handsets to networks then this type of fraud would not be possible, and they could save a fortune investigating it :)
I for one salute these illicit unlockers, its my phone and if i want to put another SIM in it i shall.
It's your phone ...
... when the contract ends. That's why I upvoted velv.
"purchase of codes to unlock SIM cards"
Somehow I don't think they're unlocking SIM cards, more like they're unlocking phones. Which shouldn't be locked in any case (and many countries have fair-use laws which allow anyone to unlock a phone).
And in France, the operators *have* to unlock the phone, for free, 6 months before the end-of-contract.
UNLOCK a phone, not a SIM
The wording in the article made me read it a couple of times before I understood what was being sold.
The sentence "access any SIM card" should be changed to something like: "SIM unlock your phone" since that is what was being sold. The whole "access to a sim card even foreign ones" sounds nice and alarmist, but is simply wrong.
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