Text Messaging: Fraud

Home Office written question – answered at on 27 February 2024.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Security)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress he has made on tackling SIM farms since 3 May 2023.

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Last week, I joined a City of London Police operation which saw two men arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. The men were in possession of SIM farms which allow fraudulent texts to be sent to the public.

We must deny criminals access to any tool that allows them to send bulk messages or make scam calls.This is why in May 2023, we consulted on proposals to ban SIM farms. The Government’s response to the consultation is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/preventing-the-use-of-sim-farms-for-fraud

We are now taking legislative action to ban “SIM farms”, technical devices that allow criminals to send scam texts to thousands of people at the same time.

The Criminal Justice Bill introduces a new offence of supplying or possessing SIM farms, without good reason or undertaking adequate due diligence. The measures will also allow the extension of the ban to other technologies that are exploited by criminals to scam the British public, subject to a high level of scrutiny and checks.

This new offence will make it more difficult for criminals to access and use these devices for the purpose of fraud and will give police the necessary tools to disrupt fraudsters.

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