The Information Commission, a government-appointed privacy watchdog, has advised companies not to pay anyone approaching them in this way, adding that they should alert itself and Trading Standards bodies if such approaches are made.
Information commissioner Richard Thomas said fraudsters are arriving with cards supposedly from the Information Commission. They claim to be ‘collectors on behalf of Data Protection’, and request fees of up to £95. However, legitimate registration with the Information Commission only costs £35.
The Commission wants to raise awareness of these types of scams to prevent firms from paying unnecessary fees. Firms that qualify as ‘data processors’ under the law, and thus require registration, should contact the Commission directly. Details of which companies should register under the Data Protection Act 1998 are available at the web address below or by calling 01625 545740. The Commission also repeated its warnings that companies should not respond to letters carrying similar claims. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) highlighted the existence of a similar data protection registration scam last year, which involved misleading mail shots being sent to firms asking them to pay £95 to register as information handlers. For companies requiring help to comply with data protection laws, the Information Commission has also said the third section of its guidelines, covering employee monitoring for workplace data protection, is due at the end of May.
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