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Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
20th October 2021 Issue no. 578

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Private investigators prosecuted for 'blagging'

Two men who ran a company that tricked people into revealing personal details about their customers were prosecuted by the ICO on 20 November. The pair will now be sentenced, along with five colleagues who previously pleaded guilty to the same offence, at a separate hearing on 24 January 2014.

The company, ICU Investigations Ltd, worked on behalf of clients to trace individuals, primarily for the purpose of debt recovery. The court heard the company had routinely tricked organisations including utility companies, GP surgeries and TV Licensing into revealing personal data, often by claiming to be the individuals they were trying to trace. Clients included Allianz Insurance PLC, Brighton & Hove Council, Leeds Building Society and Dee Valley Water.

The ICO investigation estimated that there were nearly 2,000 separate offences between 1 April 2009 and 12 May 2010.

Unlawfully obtaining or accessing personal data through 'blagging' is a criminal offence punishable by way of a fine of up to £5,000 in a Magistrates Court, or an unlimited fine in a Crown Court. The Information Commissioner has highlighted how the case once again shows why there's a need for tougher penalties, including the introduction of a custodial sentence, to put-off would-be-blaggers and punish those that break the law.

22nd January 2014

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