The Association of Independent Mobile Phone and Credit Dealers (ASIMODE) has expressed concern about the increasing frequency by which mobile phones are being used for criminal activities.
The existence of ready market for stolen and cloned phones in the country poses a serious threat to the mobile retail trade, the Association said in a statement issued in Accra.
"With the proliferation of cellular phones, stolen and cloned phones are quickly becoming popular tools for criminals, not only to obtain free phone service but also using the equipment to conduct illegal activities that outwit the vigilance of law enforcement agencies."
The statement signed by Nii Adjetey Sowah, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association, noted that identification theft was one of the fastest growing crimes today.
"It involves the use of the new camera mobile phones to take pictures of credit cards which give the criminals the name, number of the holder and expiration date of the card."
The Association advised all mobile phone users to be alert for people with phones in hand standing near them at checkout lines in retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores and lorry parks.
It said other crimes included the use of electronic readers which were used to snatch the electronic serial number and the mobile identification number (ESN-MIN) combination literally right out of the air, anytime the phone was turned on, whether the owner was using it or not.
"The criminal gains the upper hand by using a clone machine which enables him to key the stolen numbers into another phone which also might have been stolen.
"Using this clone phone, the thief obtains free cellular service while the unsuspecting victim is struck with the bill."
The statement said the change of original batteries and substituting it with fake ones for prospective buyers was also another way of cheating.
"The Association has taken exception of the activities of these criminals where some unscrupulous individuals and vendors condone and connive with them to quickly dispose of mobile phone and other accessories associated with crime."
It said the leadership of the Association would collaborate with the security agencies to nib in the bud these emerging trends in the mobile retailing trade.
The Association urged the public to report all such cases to the security agencies to get rid of miscreants and dishonest people finding themselves in the mobile phone retail business.