RUKWA: RUKWA Region is reported to lead in the country for allegedly committing cybercrime through telecom handsets, according to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
The TRCA Manager for Southern Highland Zone Office, Engineer Asijile John said between April and June this year, a total of 8,991of telcom handset’ SIM cards were identified for being associated with multiple criminal acts in Rukwa Region.
The criminal acts committed through the SIM cards was equivalent to 38.7 per cent of all-criminal acts committed in the country via telecom handsets. He mentioned such criminal acts as swindling and theft.
Eng John revealed this while presenting a topic on cybercrime through telecom handsets during Rukwa Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) held recently under the Chairmanship of Regional Commissioner, Mr Charles Makongoro Nyerere.
“In a period of two months between October and November 2022, about 6,767 acts of cybercrime, equivalent to 46 per cent of all cybercrime incidents reported across the country were in Rukwa Region,” he explained.
The RC urged leaders, stakeholders and citizens to help address the high rate of cybercrime committed in the region.
Equally, he called upon relevant state organs to address the challenge permanently in a concerted effort to cleanse the region from the said setback which has tainted the reputation of the precinct.
According to latest TCRA data, from July 2022 to June 2023, a total of 108,395 International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEIs) linked to incidents of theft or involvement in criminal activities were blocked by the authority’s systems.
TCRA Director General, Dr Jabiri Bakari told reporters in Dodoma recently that the authority has been vigilant in identifying communication equipment used in fraudulent acts and blocking the devices’ IMEI.
Dr Bakari highlighted the successful implementation of measures to restrict usage of fake phones, phones that have been cloned, stolen phones, lost or damaged phones, as well as unauthorised mobile devices for the period of one year.
This has not only helped in reducing theft incidents but also ensured the availability of quality communication devices in the market.
In November last year, TCRA announced blocking 52,000 phone numbers, including those of scammers.
From July 2021 to September 2022, a total of 52,087 IMEIs were blocked due to being reported as lost, stolen, or involved in criminal activities.
One of the essential tools that TCRA utilises in this process is the Central Equipment Identity Register, which allows the verification of all devices connected to service providers, ensuring compliance with international standards and safety for users.
TCRA has also been vigilant in detecting fraudulent phones entering the country, resulting in a decline in fraudulent phone incidents from 2020 to June 2023. However, there were a few isolated cases of phone fraud in September 2022, said the regulator.
The head of Cybercrime Investigative Unit of the Police Force, SSP Joshua Mwangasa, commended TCRA for their outstanding contribution in countering cybercrime.
He praised the agency for providing state-of-the-art technologies that greatly facilitate the work of the police force in tackling cybercrime effectively.