Recent ICO action shows just how easy it is for huge firms to buy and sell YOUR personal information

Recent ICO action shows just how easy it is for huge firms to buy and sell YOUR personal information

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Cold calls and telemarketing calls – words that are marred with a sigh of angst at the mere thought of them.

Most of us are plagued by marketing calls on a daily basis, and how they get hold of our personal information to call us can be a combination of pot luck with random numbers and buying your information from other organisations.

Just last month the ICO reported of legal action taken against several organisations for breaching the Data Protection Act through the use of telemarketing calls.

Some of the lengths these firms go to can be shocking!

Direct Security Marketing Ltd

They were issued a monetary penalty after bombarding thousands of people with automated telemarketing calls in the middle of the night.

Yes, you read that right; in the middle of the night…

Almost one in four of the automated calls they made that were aimed at selling security systems were between 1am and 6am, and they’ve been fined £70,000 as a result.

Complainants included elderly victims with heart conditions who reported that receiving such calls from private numbers in the middle of the night was understandably distressing. One victim, an 84 year old lady who has been burgled twice in the last 18 months, is understandably anxious at night; and in her efforts to reach the phone (in worrying that there was a family emergency) she tripped and badly injured her knee.

The company were found to have deliberately instigated the thousands of calls without prior consent.


Thousands of complaints were received; especially because a large number of the recipients of the calls were signed up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – these numbers had opted out of receiving marketing calls, meaning prior consent needs to be obtained.

This serious breach landed them with an £80,000 fine.

MyIML told the ICO that they made calls on behalf of a number of partners and that it had purchased data from a third party and did not itself screen that data against the TPS. The ICO continued to monitor them and the complaints continued to flood in – with most of the complaints being from subscribers to TPS who should NOT have been receiving these calls in the first place.

Prodial Limited

These nuisance callers have just been slapped with the highest fine the ICO has ever issued – £350,000

Thousands complained when they made millions (yes, MILLIONS) of automated calls trying to advertise for a very particular service that has been at the heart of nuisance calls for years now.

That’s right: PPI.

The ICO has put the number of calls at 46 million!

They cannot make automated marketing calls without prior consent – that’s the law. Yet the law is often flouted by telemarketers as they’d rather chase the sale and chase the money than consider the feelings of those on the other end of the calls.

Our office gets them on a daily basis – usually three times a day at almost the same time every day!

  • If you opt out – they still call
  • If you choose to speak to someone so you can tell them to go away – they hang up and you will still get more calls
  • If you block their numbers, they call on other numbers

They are the epitome of frustration!

We have elderly people hounded by these calls who are worried about their family; we have on-call doctors who are plagued by nuisance calls when they are waiting for emergency hospital calls; we have businesses whose time is being wasted answering these calls.

Prodial have since stopped trading, but they tried to suggest to the ICO that they had “opt-in” consent. Astoundingly, they failed to provide any evidence of this though…

In addition to the fines outlined above, “stop” orders have been placed on the following organisations who are said to be responsible for millions of nuisance calls:

  • Preferred Pension LLP
  • Advanced Voip Solutions Ltd
  • Money Help Marketing Ltd

Just where do they get your details from?

If it’s not just a stab in the dark as a telephone number, your information can be sold by people you have trusted it to for legitimate reasons. In the small print for phone companies, insurers, utility firms, and even online traders there can be “opt-in” clauses for your details to be passed to “trusted partners” and the like.

Essentially it is probably just sold to organisations like those above who will then hound you with nuisance calls.

It all serves to show just how easy it is for your information to be sold without proper consent.

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Your privacy is extremely important to us. Information on how we handle your data is in our Privacy Policy

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