Enterprise-Rent-A-Car has sent out a chilling warning to anyone thinking of stealing customer data after it has emerged three former employees have been forced to cough up a total of £400,000 in civil compensation for flogging data on car crash victims to accident claims firms.
The company, best known for its Brad and Dave ads (pictured), found that personal data on tens of thousands of customers was sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds. This triggered unlawful contact from ‘ambulance chasers’ making cold calls about personal injury; the scam ran for almost two and a half years.
Details of the civil proceedings have only just come to light after the Information Commissioner’s Office prosecuted the three men under the Data Protection Act. All three pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to conspiracy to commit offences under the DPA, although their fines are dwarfed by the civil action.
Andrew Minty was fined £7,500, which he has to pay within two years or face three months custody. Jamie Leong and Michelle Craddock who had less involvement in the conspiracy and had either paid greater amounts of damages or been affected more by previous civil proceedings, were given 12 month conditional discharges but ordered to pay £3,000 and £1,200 in prosecution costs respectively.
All three worked for Enterprise in Cardiff or Aldershot; a fourth defendant remains wanted on a warrant.
ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Car rental companies have details of drivers who have been in a road accident and need to hire a vehicle whilst theirs is out of action. These details are valuable leads to companies which make money from encouraging accident victims to make claims.
“This prosecution was the result of an ICO investigation brought about after Enterprise found out what was happening. These individuals had a long running agreement to abuse the trust placed in them to look after precious personal details. The problem of data thieves trading personal information is very concerning and one we’re cracking down on.”
The issue is not a new one for Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. In 2014 Wirral Magistrates Court heard how “greedy” 29-year-old manager Stephen Siddell stole the records of customers, who had been involved in accidents, and flogged them to a claims management company. He was ordered to pay £800 for stealing 2,000 customers’ records.
ICO slams Govt inaction after paltry data theft fine
US case exposes weak UK data laws
Fresh blow to bang up data thieves
Govt investigates stiffer data fines
MPs back ‘lock up data thieves’ call
Graham: ‘Bang up data thieves’
Car rental boss guilty of data theft