New Delhi: On Thursday, the Department of Telecom (DoT) announced that telecom operators will have to pay a penalty of Rs 10 lakh if their SIM cards are sold through unregistered dealers, via a circular.
This decision aims to keep the fraudulent sale of SIM cards in check, and it will come into effect from October 1. Telecom operators have until September 30 to register all ‘Point of Sale’ (PoS), the circular said.
Any mobile connection that has been activated through an unregistered PoS will need to re-verify their connection according to the existing instructions and existing PoS will need to submit documents and register themselves by the end of this month.
The circular said, ”If the licensee(s) permit any new PoS i.e., after September 30, 2023, to enroll customers without registration, then a financial penalty of Rs 10 lakh per PoS per instance shall be imposed by concerned LSA (licensed service area) on each licensee.”
However, a retailer or PoS that has been appointed for only recharge/billing activities, and not for enrolling customers, does not require registration. If a PoS submits documents that are forged, then the operator will have to block its ID and every customer enrolled by the PoS will need to be re-verified.
This move comes after the government’s widespread crackdown on fraudulent calls. Union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has informed that since May 2023, the government has disconnected 52 lakh mobile connections, blacklisted 67,000 dealers and registered 300 FIRs against SIM card dealers.
WhatsApp has also taken the initiative to block 66,000 accounts involved in fraudulent activities. Vaishnaw said that 8 lakh bank wallet accounts that were being used by fraudsters have been frozen. Of the 7.5 lakh complaints registered about stolen or lost mobile handsets, an estimated 3 lakh mobile handsets have been traced and returned to their rightful owners.
For registration, a PoS or retailer will now have to provide a corporate identity number (CIN), Limited Liability Partnership Identification Number (LLPIN) or Aadhaar or Passport, GST registration certificate, business license, etc. for registration.