Fake mobile accounts addressed at audit of KCC

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Fake mobile accounts addressed at audit of KCC

About 21,000 mobile phone numbers were registered under false identities over the past five years and resulted in financial damages of 12.3 billion won ($11.6 million), according to data from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) and the Ministry of Science.

According to a report compiled by Rep. Kwon Eun-hee of the ruling Saenuri Party for the National Assembly’s annual audit of the KCC yesterday, the incidents of phone numbers registered under stolen names declined from 4,008 in 2009 to 3,882 in 2012.

But, according to the data, the number of cases jumped to 5,200 last year. And financial damages from the incidents, which dropped from 2.51 billion won in 2009 to 2.34 billion won in 2012, hit 2.79 billion won last year.

In some of the reported cases, the scammers will use the stolen identity of a victim to open a mobile phone account under a different number. They would then make purchases through the phone and the bill would be sent to the victim.

Rep. Kwon’s report said that many cases occur when retail shops, usually a subcontractor of a mobile carrier, sell personal information to scammers.

People who lose their ID cards or Alien Registration Cards are the most frequent victims of the crime, and foreigners are a common target.

Of 1.3 million mobile phone numbers registered to a foreigner over the past five years, 235,000 were registered to foreigners who had already left Korea and 1,180 were in the names of deceased people, according to a study by the Ministry of Justice cited by Rep. Kwon.

“These [retail shop workers] target foreigners and in particular, foreigners who have left the country,” she said. “Because these incidents happen mainly due to poor identification rules for foreigners [at mobile carriers] when they get a phone number, the mobile carriers should take responsibility for addressing the issue.”

Last month, the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office arrested an employee of SK Networks, the mother company of SK Telecom, and another employee of an SK affiliate for creating more than 100,000 mobile accounts since 2011, although they were not sold to scammers.

The two workers issued new phone numbers using the personal information of former subscribers to SK Telecom.

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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