June 27, 2019

ICO searches properties in motor accident vishing scam investigation

By Robert Scammell

The UK’s data watchdog has carried out searches on two Liverpool properties as part of an investigation into a vishing scam.

The unnamed business is suspected of illegally obtaining personal data during motor accident scam phone calls and illegally selling it on to personal injury claims companies.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), in partnership with the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), seized computer equipment and documents as part of a six-month investigation into the suspected data farming operation.

The ICO and IFB believe the unnamed business to be carrying out “high volumes” of vishing, a cold-call scam in which a person attempts to steal personal data. Scammers often pretend to be from a trustworthy organisation, such as a police officer or banking staff.

Often the fraudster attempts to convince individuals they have been a victim of fraud or involved in an accident.

The ICO today sent two teams of enforcement officers with search warrants to a business and residential address in Liverpool.

The seized equipment and documents will be analysed for evidence in the ongoing case. The operation is alleged to have been operating since November 2017.

Mike Shaw, ICO Group Manager – Enforcement, said:

“Today’s searches will fire a warning shot to businesses who operate outside the law by engaging in data farming. The evidence seized will help us identify any illegal business activities and assist us to take enforcement action.”

The alleged offences fall under the remit of s.170 Data Protection Act 2018 and previously under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Read more: Hacker who stole share tips gets three years in prison for insider trading


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