Why are fraudsters blitzing us with scam phone calls?

Smart Money: Scam calls are a business – the economics explain the deluge of fake calls

An EU survey of consumers confirmed that, in general, fraud is big business with Irish people among those most affected. Photograph: iStock

An EU survey of consumers confirmed that, in general, fraud is big business with Irish people among those most affected. Photograph: iStock

This week I have received a half dozen mobile calls from a number purporting to be very similar to my own. The caller ID shows an 087 number – like my own – and the subsequent four digits were also identical to mine, while the last three varied each time. In the jargon, this is known as “neighbour spoofing”, when a false caller ID is sent, seeming to come from the same area you live in, or a familiar looking number, to make it more likely that you will answer. When I did answer a not very convincing automated recording from “the department of social protection department” said fraud had been associated with my Personal Public Service Number (PPSN).

Many of you will have received similar calls, trying to get you to “press a key” and talk to someone who tries to get you to divulge your PPSN, name, and in some cases, bank details. A recent scam text pretending to be from an Irish bank tells users that access to their account has been restricted due to a hacking attempt and invites them to input details to unlock it. These are all part of the seemingly endless cycle of scams which seem to have exploded over the past couple of years – and got increasingly sophisticated.

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