ICO issues £1m fines to cold call crooks – with your help

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ICO issues £1m fines to cold call crooks – with your help

By Andy Curry, Enforcement Group Manager.

It’s going to be a tough year for nuisance call crooks thanks to enforcement action by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

We’ve already issued more than £1m in fines since last April to firms breaking the rules around marketing calls, texts and emails.

And there’s another £2m of fines in the pipeline. Plus an upcoming law change which would allow us to fine not only nuisance call companies but the directors behind them. Add in the transfer of the Telephone Preference Service to us – allowing more effective passing of intelligence to our enforcement officers – and we’ve got more tools than ever to tackle the frustration and upset unlawful cold calls can cause.

We hear first-hand how much distress the victims of nuisance calls experience. From elderly people phoned in the middle of the night by a firm trying to sell burglar alarms to traumatised car crash victims called by personal injury claims companies – the information you give us through the ICO’s reporting tool paints a distressing picture of the attitude taken by some firms to how they obtain and use people’s personal information for marketing.

More than 140,000 concerns about nuisance marketing were reported to the ICO last year – about 370 a day. Your reports are vital to our enforcement action as they feed into our investigations and take action against unscrupulous cold call criminals. We have an easy to use reporting tool on our website which takes you through the information we need to gather intelligence.

We’re often asked what people can do to stop nuisance calls. The main steps I’d recommend are:

  • Tell the caller you don’t want to receive marketing calls from them. If the organisation continues to call you can report your concerns to us – ico.org.uk
  • Register for free with the TPS, a list of people who have opted out of receiving live marketing calls. If you register with the TPS and continue to receive nuisance live marketing calls 28 days after registering, you can complain either directly to the TPS or report your concerns to us.
  • By far our greatest allies in the war against the nuisance callers are the people who report them to us. You can report your concerns via our online reporting tool at ico.org.uk/calls

So thanks to all those who reported nuisance calls to us last year – your help makes a difference and leads to action against the cold callers causing distress to many vulnerable people.

Our website provides more information about the rules around marketing calls, and our action against firms breaking the law.

Andy Curry heads the team that enforces the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. As well as cracking down on nuisance calls, his team investigates companies behind unwanted texts and emails and takes action when needed.
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