Irish people are the second most likely citizens of the 27 EU member states to be the victims of fraudulent phone calls, according to the findings of a new EU-wide survey.
The poll published by the European Commission reveals that 28% of Irish people have received a call over the last year from an unknown number and been charged for it after answering the call or calling back, with 12% claiming it had happened more than once.
The figure is more than double the EU average of 13%, with only Greece having a higher proportion of citizens experiencing the same problem with 38%.
The incidence of bogus calls and texts has been increasing in recent years with both An Garda Síochána and the telecom regulator, ComReg, issuing regular warning notices to the public about fraudulent calls, texts and e-mails seeking to extract personal information such as bank details. Several government departments and agencies, as well as the likes of Revenue and the country’s pillar banks, have also all issued warnings about scam calls and texts.
The Eurobarometer poll of over 27,200 people, including over 1,000 in the Republic, which focused on e-communications also highlighted how Irish consumers are the Europeans most likely to switch provider when it comes to providers of bundled services packages for home phone, broadband and TV.
It shows that 25% of Irish people had switched provider within the previous 12 months – two and a half times the EU average of 10%.
According to the survey, 18% of Irish people increased the speed of their internet connection because of the restriction measures introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic – the highest level in the EU.
Irish consumers have the 2nd highest rate of making international calls using either fixed, mobile or internet services.
The survey shows 68% make some form of communication to other EU member states on a regular basis compared to the EU average of 26%.
Two-fifths of Irish consumers said they were aware of the price cap on calls between EU countries with a third saying they had increased use of their mobile phone since the cap was introduced in May 2019 limiting the maximum charge at 19 cent per minute and 6 cent per text.