Wholesale VoIP Featured Article
Police in India Break Up Illegal VoIP Rings
VoIP fraud is a major issue in the telecom world today. Billions of dollars are lost each year to criminals who hijack VoIP services and run up charges, leaving the services providers or company purchasing the service with the bill. But VoIP fraud isn’t the only kind of VoIP that law enforcement seeks to shut down, particularly in many nations in Asia.
In some countries, particularly those with nationalized telephone service, officials strive to combat illegal voice over IP operations that allow callers to circumvent official telephony rules. In India, VoIP is illegal for telephone calls within the country unless the calls originate and terminate at VoIP endpoints without ever touching traditional telephony or mobile networks. Companies such as Skype (News - Alert) are prevented by law from providing virtual telephone numbers or a subscription to call phones in India. Rules set down by India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) guidelines make it illegal for Internet service providers (ISPs) or wholesale VoIP companies to have interconnection with PSTN/PLMN networks, which means IP-based VoIP calls cannot be mixed with PSTN calls (traditional landline and mobile calls).
With the TRAI guidelines in mind, police in the Maharashtra ATS and Latur district police divisions recently broke up several illegal VoIP (voice over internet telephony) exchanges that were reportedly being used by Pakistan intelligence agencies for espionage operations in India. The arrests followed a tip-off by Indian intelligence agencies. The accused arrested during the busts were running illegal telephone exchanges wherein international VOIP calls were routed through local mobile numbers.
The accused were allegedly using equipment to convert VoIP call from abroad into voice calls and illegally transferring those voice calls to recipients in India through illegal international gateway, according to the Times of India’s Rajshekhar Jhal.
“It is learnt that this type of illegal VoIP exchanges were used by Intelligence agency of the neighboring country to acquire sensitive military information,” wrote Jhal. “Two suspects have been arrested and raids are on to nab others. As per the preliminary verification by DOT officials indicates a loss of revenue to the exchequer to the tune of about Rs 15 Crores.” (150 million Rs, or about $9.6 billion)
In the first police operation, a 33-year-old man running a fake telecommunication junction was arrested. Police found 96 SIM cards, three machines for call transforming (illegal international VoIP gateways) and a pair of computers, all of which were seized. The second raid shut down another illegal telecommunications shop, where officials seized two illegal international gateways, 14 SIM cards and other electronic material. Arrests were made for a third operation, where police confiscated 64 SIM cards, one laptop, two unauthorized international gateway machines and other material. In the latter operation, the suspect was a mobile SIM card distributor.
Edited by Maurice Nagle