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French cops take down mobile phone hacking ring

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French police have arrested nine people, including mobile telco employees, suspected of running a multi-million Euro telecom charges fraud that may have been going for almost a decade.

The alleged scam involved the alleged purchase of codes to unlock SIM cards for as little as €3 from corrupt phone company employees, before reselling them online for around €30. The codes allowed buyers to access any "SIM card, even foreign cards, with their mobile phones," AFP reports. One of the suspects allegedly raked in €25,000 every month through the scam.

The fraud only came to light following a complaint initiated by French phone firm SFR after an audit uncovered unexplained discrepancies in its security system. A subsequent investigation revealed evidence of fraud affecting both Bouygues Telecom and Orange.

The case is being overseen by examining magistrates in the French city of Marseille. ®

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