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20 May 2022

Taskforce to tackle volume of scam calls and texts

Taskforce to tackle volume of  scam calls and texts

A taskforce to tackle the increase in scam calls and texts being sent to members of the public seeking personal details etc has been established by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)

The taskforce was convened last month by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) as concern grows about the perceived trustworthiness and integrity of electronic communications in Ireland.

Scam calls and scam texts are the common name for unwanted, unsolicited nuisance communications generally directed at large groups of the population.

Scam calls and scam texts often have the intention of misleading the receiver, so that the receivers of the calls unknowingly provide sensitive information or funds to the scammer.

The taskforce has appointed an independent chairperson and secretariat who will meet monthly with representatives of telecoms operators who are currently licensed to provide voice calls and SMS services in the State.

It is planned to discuss practical ways to minimise so-called “nuisance communications” and issue two reports to ComReg on its progress over the next year. One report is expected after six months and another one after a year.

The first report will include a list of recommendations to combat scam communications in the long-term, while the second is expected to update ComReg on any interventions being developed and review whether the taskforce should continue beyond that point.

The setting up of the taskforce followed a meeting between Minister of State with responsibility for communications Ossian Smyth and telecommunication industry leaders to address the ongoing problem of scam calls and messages. 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic more people are working from home, shopping online, banking online and using social media. According to ComReg, this creates opportunities for scammers to steal data and money from unsuspecting users.

Though your phone service provider is likely to be already blocking suspicious numbers, some calls get through as it is difficult to quickly recognise scammers and block their calls and texts efficiently without blocking genuine numbers.

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