How to add spoiler tags, edit posts, add images etc. How to - a user's guide to the new version of Boards
Mods please check the Moderators Group for an important update on Mod tools. If you do not have access to the group, please PM Niamh. Thanks!

Receiving scam calls, but their number is very similar to mine. What's going on?

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,433 ✭✭✭ actuallylike

    Hello all,

    I've been receiving a large number of scam calls lately (automated voice about an accident, etc.). I block each number but they keep coming. I've noticed though that all the numbers are very similar to mine.

    e.g. Say my number is 0871234-567, so every calls appear to come from the same number except the last few digits. e.g. 0871234-123 or 0871234-124. It's made it easier for me to recognise them tbh.

    So, I was just wondering what the scam strategy is here? Am I more likely to pick up if I semi recognise the number? Is there something else going on that I'm not seeing?


  • Nope exactly as you guessed. Your more likely to respond to a similar number

  • That could be the intention but still randomly generated numbers.My version is a text from Stacey asking if it's ok fir Isobel to come in.Certainly different.

  • Got 2 calls last 2 days both with similar numbers to my own..ignored and blocked !!

  • Getting them constantly, either looking for PPS Number or something about Amazon Prime. When I pick up and make a joke about it (told them my PPS was F 0 0 K 0 F F) they just hang up lol

  • yes, this seems to be a new behaviour....

    I've been receiving calls ever since the HSE hack, 110% no doubt, previously flawless number which has been in service last 8 years

    initially random caller id/unknown, couple calls a week, one call a day, none answered, I never pick up anything that's not out of my phonebook, then hadn't had any at all last week, this week though got very interesting...

    several per day now and they're caller ID presenting the first six digits of my own number

    say I'm 089 333 4680

    it'll try 089 333 4899, 089 333 4869, 089 333 4868, 089 333 4866 and so on....

    same first 6 exactly as my own and progressively poking that last 4 digit field from a high number range downwards

    I can't be sure what's afoot precisely but they're clearly trying to identify my last 4 digits....possibly with good reason, your last 4 mobile digit string is gold, it gets used in all sorts of verification systems, banking, email recovery, yadda...



    if I'm a hacker is there a way to cross verify a victims last 4 digits by "skip dialling" them like this? (I mean apart from victim being dumb enough to answer) does a mobile number do anything weird when it dials itself? so the hacker gets back a unique signal/indicator they've hit the jackpot? (goes straight to vm?)


    I've personally started the process now to change my numbers, lot's involved (think how deep they're integrated these days e.g. ebanking) but I think this is the new problem people face now, I don't think its possible to maintain a static number anymore, spin them yearly etc.

  • Advertisement

  • I had two of these today, i.e. calls from numbers similar to my own. Must admit I picked up the second. Line went dead when I answered. Rang the number back and it said 'number not recognised'. Bit weird as no attempt at a scam?

  • Got several rounds of this last week. Missed a few and rang one back and got some Irish guy who didn't know what I was talking about - so looks like they're cloning numbers?

    The kicker? I have two SIMs in one phone (personal and work) and every time I got a pair of calls from the scam number, one to each of my numbers. Very few people would have both my numbers - where the hell did they get them from?!

  • The fact you got the calls in pairs to numbers which, I assume, are completely different from one another, points to these being associated to your name in the "source data" - which in turn puts the suspicion strongly on the phone operators shoulders, or at least someone inside of them for "leaking" these out - unless you use both numbers interchangeably.

    I got the first call a few days ago, and this morning I got two in rapid succession - first one "recorder message", second one just went dead after 2/3 seconds. The interesting aspect of the last two was that the first 6 digits of the numbers were exactly these of my own phone number. I guess there's a system to "report" a fake number to the recipient of the call and these might be coming from anywhere in the world, really.

  • Absolutely agree - somewhere in Scam HQ there's an entry for Padraig Mor with both my numbers. I'm struggling to see how though as very few *people* would have both my numbers, and even fewer - if any - organisations that may have had a data breach. Although I guess scammers may somehow be getting dumps of individuals' phone contact lists?

  • Had 6 last Thursday with the same first 6 numbers as mine

    086 999 XXXX

    Didn't answer any (by luck for first one, was dealing with a pissed off 2 year old)

    And none since

  • Advertisement

  • Phone operators having leaks / selling lists of their customers "under the table"; It has happened before. Sometimes it's a disgruntled / dishonest employee with the right access who's out for a quick buck, other times it might be the company themselves making use of their "not-too-clear" t&c.

    That is, if both your numbers are the same operator - if they are not, then the scammers put 2+2 together, likely with some form of software.

    Anyway, I've been bombarded since last Friday, getting no less than 3/4 calls a day - to the point I missed one or two genuine calls because I started ignoring the phone ringing, or automatically refusing the calls. Again, all numbers with the same first 6 digits as mine.

    But - yesterday there was a change of strategy, got a call around 11am from an US number, starting with +1. I know people in the US and works with an US company, so I picked up - "This is a message from the Department of Social Protection Department" and I hung up.

    Funny thing is that for all the trouble they're going through to do this, they don't fix the cacophonic message that says "department" twice in 2 seconds 😂

  • I am getting plagued by these calls too. It had stopped for a few weeks but it has started again.

    Initially the calls were from random numbers, then last week they were spoofing numbers similar to my own.

    Today they are phoning my mobile, which I ignore, and then within a minute the landline rings, I answered the first time as it was a different number and the line went dead, I haven't answered it since. I don't think these are just randomly generated at all.

  • I was getting the ones from a number similar to mine, it 086123** with the last digits different each time, I hung up the first few times but then I was bored and pressed 1 but never got through to anyone, always hung up.

    Today was a new mobile without the first 3 digits of my number with a new scam, some yank on a pre-recorded message from the dept of social whatever on about illegal activity and PPS so I pressed 1. Got through to someone sharpish :-) He didn't have my name or pps obviously so was trying with the name first.

    Unfortunately his english wasn't good enough to realise the name I was giving was donald duck so it went on for another few minutes 😆 I told him I didn't believe in banks and only had bitcoin but I needed about €100 in btc to cover a transaction fee which would enable me to transfer some to him from an exchange it was locked up in. I had to get back to work then so that was that. He said a few things I won't repeat here and hung up on me, great craic & I was actually getting paid for winding him up cos I was in work 😁

    BTW, they are obviously using a web based autodialler they feed numbers into from a list. And not neccesarily a bought list as it wouldn't be that difficult to create an 086 one followed by 7 digits. That's my guess anyway.

  • My suspicion is that the spammers check if randomly called numbers return a ring tone (and, better, if actually answered). I guess that this could be done automatically. These "active" numbers get saved for future use by spam persons. We get silent calls first thing in morning. Often followed by spam call later in the day.

    We have taken to unplugging the telephones first thing. Don't yet know if successful.