False registration of SIM cards on the rise, CFM warns
By Digital News Asia April 21, 2016
- Some agents and dealers using consumers’ personal info to register fake accounts
- Telcos also need to do their part, MCMC acted 50 times in 2015 over the issue
THE Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) said that in 2015, it received 89 complaints about the false registration of prepaid SIM cards, an increase of 187.1% from the 31 complaints recorded in 2014.
CFM urged all consumers in Malaysia to take the necessary steps to prevent their personal information – such as copies of identity cards and their personal details – from being shared with unauthorised parties to register for a new prepaid account without their consent.
“The availability of prepaid cards is so widespread that they are sold in petrol stations, newsstands, malls, and convenience stores across Malaysia,” CFM chairman Ishak Maamunor Rashid said in an official statement.
“However, as the demand for mobile prepaid services increases, some agents and dealers are using consumers’ personal information to register fake accounts for sale to their other customers, especially illegal foreigners,” he added.
Based on the Guidelines on Registration of End-Users of Prepaid Public Cellular Services by industry regulator the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), there is no need for a service provider or its sales representative to make any copies of a subscriber’s MyKad (the national identity card) during registration.
The service provider’s obligation is only to verify the identification information provided by the consumer, CFM said in a statement.
Consumers are also advised to read the terms and conditions – including any fine print – before signing any documentation, and to request a copy of the signed document for future reference.
Ishak said that CFM’s Complaints and Compliance Management Department is working closely with the various services providers to ensure that all cases reported to the CFM Complaints Portal (www.complaint.cfm.org.my) and email ([email protected]) are resolved in a fair and timely manner as mandated in the General Consumer Code of Practice for the Communications and Multimedia Industry Malaysia (GCC).
However, service providers too must protect their customers’ personal information to avoid misuse and tampering, CFM warned.
Under the GCC Part 2: Rules of the Code under Provision of Information, as stipulated under Clause 2.3.5, service providers creating, maintaining, using or disseminating individually identifiable information should take reasonable steps to assure that the data is accurate, complete and timely for the purposes for which they are to be used.
If mishandling occurs on consumer information, service providers must comply with the guidelines in the GCC in Part 2, Clause 2.3.5, which state that they should establish appropriate processes or mechanisms so that inaccuracies in material individually identifiable information, such as account or contact information, may be corrected.
These processes and mechanisms should be simple and easy to use, and provide assurance that inaccuracies have been corrected, CFM said.
In 2015, the MCMC issued a total of 50 compound fines amounting to RM2.29 million (US$590,000) to telecommunications service providers for breaches related to the false registration of prepaid SIM cards.
The misuse of end-user information is a breach of telecommunications companies’ licence conditions as prescribed in Section 242 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
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