What is SIM Box Fraud

Student received a cell phone bill for 17,000 euros

The mobile operator A1 offers Vorarlberg residents a 20 percent discount, but insists on payment. The student's cell phone was stolen in Barcelona.

A Vorarlberg student is confronted with a mobile phone bill of around 17,000 euros from his mobile operator A1. The young man's cell phone was stolen in Barcelona, ​​and within a short time he is said to have been on the phone for 200 hours, reported the ORF Vorarlberg. A1 still insists on the payment, the student now wants to take legal action against the bill.

>> UPDATE: A1 reduces the bill to 500 euros

In mid-February, the Vorarlberg man had his cell phone stolen from a nightclub in Barcelona at around 5 a.m. A1 blocked the SIM card at 9:00 a.m. Within this short time, the student is said to have telephoned for over 200 hours. A1 billed this. According to AK consumer advocate Paul Rusching, the fraudsters switched between two telephone companies using a SIM box program and then set up a large number of computer-aided connections. The aim is to generate minutes of conversation that are then connected to the network operator. In fact, however, these never took place. For this, the second network operator or the fraudsters behind them collect.

According to the ORF report, A1 nevertheless demands payment of the horrific bill. The mobile operator referred to the terms and conditions, according to which the customer is liable if the SIM card is lost or stolen until the message to change the code arrives at A1. The student was offered a discount of 20 percent, which would still be almost 14,000 euros. With voice roaming, the connection does not go over the home network, so you need the roaming data from the foreign network operator like any other network operator. As soon as the data were available, they reacted promptly, said A1 in a statement to the ORF. "We regret that the customer has become a victim of criminals, but unfortunately we can no longer accommodate him in this matter," it concluded.

Helgar Schneider, lawyer for the person concerned, doubted whether the A1 terms and conditions are valid. In the case of credit cards, there is already an OGH decision, according to which the risk cannot be passed on to the customer. Even if these were valid, it had to be pointed out that no services were provided. So there is no need to pay. The lawyer also criticized the mobile operator because he refused, with reference to data protection, to surrender the location data and the roaming connections. According to his research, there are many such cases in Austria, especially in connection with Barcelona. Other network operators do not charge their customers anything from the outset; this does not seem to apply to A1. One will continue to oppose the bill.

(APA)