Business

Spam text message firm Help Direct UK fined £200,000

Telephone keypad

A company has been censured for a second time in seven months for sending out spam text messages - this time with a £200,000 fine.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said there were 6,758 complaints in a month about text messages sent by Swansea-based Help Direct UK.

The messages were about claims for accidents, PPI and bank refunds.

The ICO ordered the same company to stop sending marketing texts about pensions in March.

Mobile phones and devices used by the company in the past were linked to the current investigation, the ICO said, and could face further action as a result.

Confusion

In the latest case, the ICO issued a fine of £200,000 - the first of its kind under new powers - for spam text messages aimed at generating leads for claims companies.

A typical text read: "Its been signed off, we have 3886.41 in your name for the accident you had, for us to put in your bank Now just fill out www.accidentinjuryclaim.so".

One complainant said they had never had an accident and was worried someone could be fraudulently using their identity; another was concerned they may have unknowingly caused an accident.

An ICO investigation discovered that Help Direct UK was using unregistered SIM cards to send the messages. The ICO said this was a common practice by companies looking to avoid the mobile networks' spam detectors.

"This was a marketing campaign on a massive scale from a company who has already been warned by us to stop sending these marketing messages," said Anne Jones, assistant information commissioner for Wales.

"The company has also shown a blatant disregard for the rules by ignoring enforcement action we issued earlier this year. They are now facing the consequences of that decision."

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites