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Vijayawada police unearth illegal international VoIP exchanges

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Vijayawada police unearth illegal international VoIP exchanges

Based on specific input provided by a Military Intelligence Unit in J&K, *Andhra Pradesh Police* last night unearthed three illegal VoIP exchanges in *Vijayawada*, apprehended individuals involved and recovered large number of illegally procured SIM Cards along with other devices.
Earlier this month an intelligence pertaining to suspicious illegal VoIP exchanges being run in *Gunadala* area of Vijayawada was shared by an MI unit in J&K with Andhra Pradesh Police. It was reported that the facilities were being exploited by intelligence operatives from Pakistan for making calls to security personnel in J&K to acquire sensitive information from them, posing as senior officials. It is learnt that these exchanges enabled callers from other countries, call an Indian numbers by hiding their identity and showing some Indian numbers to their receivers instead. Therein the calls were made using VoIP technology, travel to India over Internet medium, land in one of such illegal exchanges, get converted into regular telecom calls (using a modem like device called *SIM Box* and illegally procured SIM cards), further travel on telecom medium and land on a desired Indian number as a legitimate telecom call from another Indian number. This potent modus operandi was adapted to make the security personnel believe that the caller is an Indian.

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The input was further developed by Andhra Pradesh Police with assistance from local TERM Cells. The state police could soon detect hundreds of illegal SIM cards being used, locate the illegal facilities and identify the individuals involved. They further could identify and locate the kingpin who was running these exchanges along with others established even outside the state. Suitable leads were obtained and multiple simultaneous raids were planned for Vijayawada.

Finding it appropriate, raids were executed by Police last night in Vijayawada resulting in unearthing of *three illegal VoIP exchanges*, apprehension of *seven individuals* and recovery of *three SIM-Boxes*, more than *230 SIM Cards* (procured illegally), *Laptops*, desktop *Computers* and other peripherals. The investigation is still under progress and more apprehension may take place based on the questioning of the suspects.

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It is belive that these facilities were also used for monetary fraudulent activities. Apart from being a security concern such exchanges cause *huge financial loss* to the exchequer by providing an illegal alternative to other recognised means of making international calls to India.

Earlier this year, illegal VoIP exchanges were unearthed in UP, MP, Telangana, Maharashtra and Odisha. Direct link between individuals running such facilities and inimical intelligence agencies is not proven yet. It is learnt that these individuals run them in want of easy money as they get generous share on each international VoIP call getting converted into a legitimate looking telecom call using their facilities. However all of these exchanges were being exploited by inimical agencies to target security personnel apart from being used by various other fraudsters.

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