ICO undertakes more searches

Homes in the north west have been searched as part of an extensive ongoing investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The investigation relates to nuisance calls that encourage people to make personal injury claims about road traffic accidents being linked to the theft of data from car repair centres.

The ICO executed two search warrants this week – one in Gatley, Greater Manchester, on Wednesday and the other in Wilmslow, Cheshire, on Thursday.

Computers and phones were seized during the searches as the ICO continues to investigate nuisance calls prompted by the theft of people’s details from car repair centres throughout the UK. The items will now be subject to forensic examination and investigation.

Mike Shaw, ICO criminal investigations group manager, said, ‘This illegal trade has multiple negative effects – both on the car repair businesses targeted for their customer data and the subsequent nuisance calls made to customers. These can be extremely unsettling and distressing.

‘Our searches this week are the latest step in us tracking down the unscrupulous individuals involved in this industry. These people won’t get away with it – any person or business involved in the theft and illegal trade of personal data may find themselves subject to ICO action.’

ICO investigators are looking at how the data was stolen, who stole it and which companies have subsequently made calls to the public encouraging them to make compensation claims about accidents they may have been involved in.

‘The National Body Repair Association (NBRA) is pleased to see that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has carried out further search warrants at properties in Manchester and Cheshire, as part of an ongoing investigation,’ commented Jason Moseley, NBRA director.

‘The investigation was initially prompted by concerns raised by the NBRA and its members,’ continued Moseley. ‘This is something we have been working closely with the ICO for over a year now, and we fully support that further actions are being taken against this criminal activity.’

The ongoing investigation, named Operation Pelham, started in May 2016.