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Vietnam busts million-dollar telecom fraud

By VnExpress   November 30, 2016 | 01:35 am PT
Vietnam busts million-dollar telecom fraud
Pham Ngoc Anh (left) and Nguyen Cong Toan, two suspects of the telecom fraud, were arrested by Vietnamese police last Thursday. Photo courtesy of People's Police newspaper
The pair were arrested for re-routing international calls via an illegal hi-tech network.

Two people have been arrested by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security for their alleged involvement in an illegal telecommunications network that may have cost local telecom firms hundreds of billions of dong.

The illegal network was designed to tap into international calls, said the Culture, Information and Telecom Security Bureau, a unit under the management of the public security ministry, which busted the telecom ring with the help of other security services.

According to the bureau, the two suspects, who were arrested last Thursday, built a sophisticated network using broadcast receivers and mini antennas and installed them in several areas in Hanoi and the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Pham Ngoc Anh, 29, and Nguyen Van Trinh, 33, were said to have connived with overseas partners to route international calls via the internet using voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and terminate the calls through a phone number in Vietnam to make it appear as if it was a local call.

As a result, telcos have lost millions of dollars while callers are often not aware of the scam, even though the call quality is often poor.

Items retrieved from the duo included 12 VOIP GSM Gateway devices, which were connected to main server in Hong Kong, a virtual SIM server in China and several VOIP servers in the U.S., South Korea and other European and Asian countries.

Investigators said the suspects cloned pre-paid and unactivated SIM cards and took them to China to create a ghost SIM server in Hong Kong to save on landline rental fees.

The Ministry of Information and Communications is continuing its investigations and attempting to retrieve the promotional pre-paid SIM cards.

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> Vietnam dials in changes to telephone area codes

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