Bulgarian Authorities Mull Limiting Number of SIM Cards

Crime | January 17, 2011, Monday // 14:10|  views

SIM cards in Bulgaria have been used for criminal activities such as abduction, racket and fraud. File photo

There is a proposal, coming from the Head of the Commission for Communications Regulation, Veselin Bozhkov, to limit the number of SIM cell phone cards to three per person.

Speaking in an interview for the private TV channel bTV on Monday, Bozhkov said SIM cards must be purchased only for personal use with one person having up to 3 cards since this is the number of cell phone operators in Bulgaria, while the number of SIM cards for companies would be limited to the number of employees.

These statements came on the heels of reports about a case in the town of Panagyurishte, where one man, identified as Sabko Muleshkpov, had purchased over 1 000 SIM cards. Muleshkov then began offering anonymous SIM cards online in unlimited numbers for the three mobile operators and even offering a choice of phone number. The cards were sold for between BGN 10 and BGN 50.

The police in the regional city of Pazardzhik are probing the case. Muleshkov has a criminal record and has served jail time for fraud. Three of the SIM cards, purchased from him, have been used in two robberies and one abduction.

In the beginning of 2010, after a request from the Interior Ministry, the Commission for Communications Regulation introduced mandatory registration of prepaid cell phone cards precisely over the high-profile kidnappings and racket, haunting Bulgaria in recent years.

A radio journalist, also present in the TV studio, told his story of falling pray of SIM card fraud where 220 such cards had been registered to his name and he received an invoice for BGN 1 300 from the mobile operator.

The journalist complained about rude attitude on the part of the operator which failed to stop the cards and only sent him a thank you letter for being a loyal customer. He had filed a claim with the police.

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Tags: SIM cards, abduction, racket, fraud, Commission for Communications Regulation, Veselin Bozhkov, cell phone


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