Why phone scams are so difficult to tackle
Aug 23, 2021 • BBC
Many of us now refuse to answer telephone calls from an unknown number, for fear that it could be a scam.
And we dread receiving a text message, purportedly from our bank or a delivery firm, again due to concerns that it might be from fraudsters.
A recent report suggests that we are right to be cautious. In the 12 months to March 2021, phone call and text message fraud across England, Wales and Northern Ireland was up 83% from the previous year, according to consumer group Which?.
Which? analysed data from Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, and says this was the biggest rise across all types of fraudulent attacks.
It adds that the jump was fuelled by more people getting things delivered during the pandemic, which led to a corresponding huge rise in fake parcel delivery text notifications.
In these “smishing” attacks, fraudsters send a person a message, seemingly from a legitimate number, to claim that a small payment is needed before a package can be delivered. Then when you click on the link they try to steal your banking details.
But how exactly are the fraudsters able to do this, and why is it so difficult for telecoms firms and authorities to tackle the problem?