Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has welcomed proposals brought forward by the Communications Regulator to combat scam calls and texts that cost the economy and society an estimated €300 million per year.
Teachta Doherty called for other agencies to tackle the rising threat of financial fraud and scams with the same urgency and ambition, and for the Government to address fraud with an urgency that has been severely lacking.
The Donegal TD said:
“Citizens are increasingly concerned by the rise of financial fraud and scams.
“ComReg estimates that there were 365,000 cases of financial loss over the last 12 months through fraudulent calls and text messages.
“The regulator estimates the total harm caused to consumers and businesses is more than €300 million per year.
“ComReg’s proposals published on Friday are a welcome and significant intervention in tackling the rise of fraudulent calls and text messages.
“Among the proposals are plans for operators to block calls from spoof numbers, blocking calls from phone numbers that have not been assigned by ComReg and the creation of an SMS Scam Filter.
“These are welcome measures that would protect consumers and businesses from nuisance calls and texts while reducing financial loss to fraud.
“For too long mobile and telephone operators have shirked their responsibilities in protecting consumers who are targeted and defrauded through their networks.
“It is essential that these timely interventions are implemented.
“ComReg’s proposals present an opportunity for other agencies and sectors to tackle this growing threat with the same urgency and ambition.
“We know that citizens are also targeted by criminals and defrauded via online platforms such as Google and Facebook through fraudulent ads and communications by fraudsters.
“Action must be taken to ensure search engines and social media companies are taking appropriate action to remove and screen this fraudulent content.
“For too long the Government have failed to address the rise in financial fraud and scams.
“We are still without a multi-annual strategy to tackle fraud and scams, despite the fact it was a key recommendation of the Hamilton Report in December 2020 – more than two years ago.
“And despite repeated calls from the banking sector, we still do not have the legislation in place for the creation of a Shared Information Database to tackle fraud.
“While ComReg’s proposed interventions to protect consumers and businesses from fraud are welcome, much more is still to be done.”