Recruitment agencies warned to beware bogus registration scams

The Information Commissioner has warned recruitment agencies not to be misled by bogus agencies that send notices demanding money to register under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

Evidence gathered by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) highlights that the recruitment sector is being specifically targeted by fake data protection agencies posing as official government bodies.

The letters, which request sums of up to £135 to register under the DPA, often use threatening language and are on official-looking headed notepaper.

The statutory fee for notification is just £35 a year. Organisations and businesses that need to register should go directly to the ICO.

The unscrupulous activity of bogus data protection agencies received a severe blow in December 2004 as two men were sentenced to a total of six and a half years at Burnley Crown Court after they pleaded guilty to conning businesses across the UK out of nearly £700,000.

Assistant Information Commissioner, Phil Jones, said: “The golden rule is that if a business receives a letter out of the blue demanding more than £35 to register under the DPA this will be a scam. Our simple message to businesses is to throw the letter in the bin and not to pay the fee.”

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