Mobile phone scams are on the increase. Over the past few months, there have been numerous reports in Ireland of new scams involving mobiles. It’s increased again over the past few days according to ComReg. We’ve all seen the posts on Facebook and Twitter. Someone receives a phone call from a foreign number and then they either answer it or call the number back. Before you know it, your phone bill becomes something representing a cricket score. But by remaining vigilant, you can protect yourself against such scams.
We’re creating a database of this fraudulent numbers that you can help us build below this article.
What To Look Out For
Similar to identifying fake Facebook competitions, there are some simple things to be on the lookout for when it comes to spotting mobile phone scams.
The scam is really to trick you into calling back and when you do call back, you may be enticed into listening for longer and the longer you stay on, the more it’ll cost you
Barbara Delaney, Director of Retail and Consumer Affairs at ComReg
The main thing is to recognise the phone number that is ringing you. Restricted numbers may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re generally safe enough to answer. Numbers in your contact list are a given. It’s when an unknown foreign number rings that you need to be wary.
Most smartphones nowadays are able to identify where a call is originating from, simply by tracking the number against international dialling codes. You can also tell a call from a foreign number, as it will start with a “+” symbol at the start.
Ultimately, it’s down to being careful about what calls you answer and call back. If you are unsure of why you’re receiving a random call from a Moscow number, it’s best to ignore it. You didn’t enter the Russian Lotto so how could you have won it?
Increase Security on your Mobile
While keeping an eye on who is ringing you will protect against mobile phone scams, we’re all human. Mistakes can be made. Your smartphone likely has some call blocking options on your smartphone to instantly reject calls from selected numbers or all calls from unknown numbers. If you do catch a rouge call from an odd number, just jot down that number for blocking later on.But there’s also a host of applications available for smartphones that allow you to call block automatically.
After some research, we came across Mr Number, an application available on both Google Play and iTunes. It allows you to block unwanted calls and SMS messages if you want to. However, you can also block individual numbers, if you want to avoid calls from the mother in law or block all calls from a particular country to make sure you’re fully covered against scams from a particular country.
block all calls from a particular country to make sure you’re fully covered against scams
The iOS version also has a slick feature, where you can automatically add a number to your block list as it is ringing you. Mr Number also has a database of previous mobile phone scam numbers, which will automatically be blocked upon installation of the app. You can also block any pesky spam messages that might be getting. And best of all, it’s free.
Report any Mobile Phone Scams
Finally, it’s vitally important that you report any mobile phone scams to keep friends and family aware of them. Social media is the best way of calling out any potential scams. ComReg is also aware of the problem that mobile phone scams can cause, and can be contacted here if you wish to report any instances. It’s only by staying vigilant and knowing what to look out for that you will keep yourself safe from the scam artists out there.
Add Suspicious Number to Our Database
If you’ve received a scam number or have seen one on social media, enter it below and we’ll add it to our soon to be available lookup database.