Ireland scams: New trick number calling Irish phones as hoax calls continue to soar

By Cormac O'Shea & Sophie Collins

Scam callers using an 038 number are on the rise in Ireland in the last month as hoax calls continue to soar.

Since the start of September the number has become more frequent with clever scam artists attempting to trick unsuspecting phones users.

The numbers similarity to 083 means that many people could be easily tricked into answering the call.

Irish users have been searching "083 area code" in their droves with google data showing the search term saw a 100% rise in mid September compared to any point in the year up to then.

And gardaí are asking people to simply ignore all suspect text messages, phone calls and emails going forward, and to never click on links that were not sent by someone you know.

CSO crime statistics for Q1 of 2021, there was a 40% increase in fraud offences in Ireland in the year to June 2021 compared to the previous year.

The increase mostly occurred in Q1 and Q2 of this year and primarily relates to fraudulent attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone as well as fraudulent use of credit and debit card information.

Speaking at the launch of a new cybersecurity campaign aimed at helping older generations come to terms with identifying these scams, Assistant Commissioner O’Driscoll advised on "some simple but effective steps which can make cyberspace safer to operate within and more difficult for criminals to abuse.

"Our advice is don’t respond to unsolicited emails or links; don’t share personal information online and always have a secure and separate backup of your computer systems."

While the younger generations in Ireland generally know when they have been targeted by a scam, and can deal with it easily, Sean Moynihan, Chief Executive of ALONE, has said the worry is more for the older generations who don't recognise the dangers.

"We always advise older people to be cautious and careful with sharing any personal and financial information over the phone or online", he explained.

"The age sector is working with the government and t private companies to give older people the training and support to be confident on line and reduce any fears people have.

"From our work we also know that technology can also be an empowering tool for older people that allows them to manager their wellbeing, security and social connection.

"If you feel like you may be the victim of an online scam, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It is important to always report these incidents to prevent these crimes being committed."

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