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Pay day loans spammer gets £175,000 fine

Sent millions of unwanted texts
Wed Dec 18 2013, 13:20

THE UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has fined an SMS spamming loan company £175,000 for the texts that it sent to phone users.

The ICO said that pay day lender First Financial was investigated following complaints and found to be the source of millions of palsy, chatty spam messages.

Messages were designed to look as though they came from contacts. One example is "Hi Mate hows u? I'm still out in town, just got £850 in my account from these guys"

That sort of thing gets the goat of the privacy and communications regulator, and it has picked up a moderately sized book and bunged it at the firm.

"People are fed up with this menace and they are not willing to be bombarded with nuisance calls and text messages at all times of the day trying to get them to sign up to high interest loans. The fact that this individual tried to distance himself from the unlawful activities of his company shows the kind of individuals we're dealing with here," said ICO director of Operations Simon Entwisle.

"We will continue to target these companies that continue to blight the daily lives of people across the UK. We are also currently speaking with the government to get the legal bar lowered, allowing us to take action at a much earlier stage."

Spam texts were sent from unregistered SIM cards, which is a common spamming trick, according to the ICO. The firm was also criticised for not adhering to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which require that people opt-in to receiving marketing material.

4,031 complaints were made about the messages. The Advertising Standards Agency has already taken the firm to task for its practices, and fined it this summer. Company director Hamed Shabani has already been fined £1,180.66 for failing to notify the ICO of First Financial's processing of personal information.

He had tried to claim that he had no affiliation with the company. µ


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