904. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice if she will respond to concerns and proposals (details supplied) in relation to a possible deterrent for scam calls which have increased exponentially here over the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42259/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Telecommunications policy and regulation is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, to whom I note this question has also been directed. As the Deputy will be aware, the prevention and investigation of any criminal activity, including that associated with such 'scam calls', are strictly operational matters for the Garda Commissioner. As Minister for Justice I have no direct role in these matters.
However, I want to say that I share the Deputy’s concern as to the number of ‘scam calls’ being received by people in Ireland in recent times. I am informed that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau proactively engages with telecommunications providers to suspend VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) numbers which are suspected of being used to commit fraud and it is the experience of An Garda Síochána that telecommunication companies based in Ireland will provide assistance in the suspension of such numbers upon notification that they are being used to commit fraud offences. I would therefore urge people to notify the Gardaí if they are contacted by someone they suspect to be trying to defraud them.
Both the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau continue to engage with telecommunications service providers regarding the kinds of scam raised by the Deputy and the identification of the persons involved. Question No. 905 answered with Question No. 888.