Issued By
Lancashire County Council

Trading Standards Team Saves Companies £100,000 in Data Protection Scam

Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards team has joined forces with CID officers to stop companies being duped out of £100,000 in a Data Protection Registration scam.

More than 2000 letters which were addressed to a data protection registration company were intercepted at an address in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
Some of the letters, which were from all over the country, included cheques for £95 and had been sent in response to official looking registration forms headed “Final Notice” warning companies that it was a criminal offence not to register their details under the Data Protection Act and that records revealed they had not contacted the Information Commissioner.

Many of the targeted companies had in fact already registered.
The Trading Standards team is now busy returning all the cheques to their rightful owners and advising them that there are alternative and cheaper ways to register by contacting the Information Commissioner direct. Some small companies may not be required to register at all.
Companies are being warned to be on their guard against any official looking correspondence requesting money to register with the Information Commissioner.

The Office of Fair Trading has taken out an injunction against at least one such company and is looking at a number of others.
Details of whether or not a company is required to notify under the Data Protection Act 1998 are available on the Information Commissioner's website at www.dpr.gov.uk or by telephone on their Notification Helpline of 01625 545740.
Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Rural Affairs, County Councillor Doreen Pollitt, said: ”The Trading Standards Service again have found some companies are vulnerable to this official type mailshot, giving the impression that there is a connection between the sender and the Information Commissioner.

“All those sending cheques are to receive a letter of advice and their cheque will be returned to them. In total around £100,000 will be returned to small businesses across the country.”

For further information please contact: Jane Bullock on 01772 263521 jane.bullock@css.lancscc.gov.uk