Bogus firms attempt to collect registration fees

Employers
have been warned to steer clear of bogus firms claiming to be collecting data
protection registration fees for the Information Commission (IC).

Michael
Barrett, group administration and personnel manager at plastics manufacturer
C&C Marshall, advised employers to be on their guard after his firm
received a ‘final notice’ for data protection registration.

The
letter from Data Protection Agency Services threatened the company with a
£5,000 fine if it did not respond with a £95 registration fee.

"The
form looks absolutely genuine. It is exactly like the official data protection
office correspondence," he said.

Barrett,
and his colleague Steve Baldry, were alerted to the scam when they noticed the
return address for the Information Commission was wrong.

C&C
Marshall is one of more than 5,000 firms that have complained to the IC after
being targeted by fraudsters.

In
response, the IC has issued a warning on its website highlighting the problem,
and more than 20 firms have been reported to the Office of Fair Trading for
charging anything up to £120 for bogus registrations to the IC. The annual
statutory notification fee is only £35.

Information
Commissioner Richard Thomas is raising the issue with the Lord Chancellor,
because under data protection law, the commissioner has no power to close down
the rogue organisations.

www.dataprotection.gov.uk

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