The ICO has seized hundreds of SIM cards, after raiding a so-called “SIM farm” in offices in Wolverhampton as part of its clampdown on illegal marketing activities.
Initial estimates suggest the equipment could have been used to send over 350,000 nuisance text messages, though the total may have been more than a million.
Computer equipment and paperwork were seized, and a residential address was also searched. The investigation continues.
ICO enforcement manager Andy Curry said: “What we’ve seized today backs the intelligence we had that hundreds of thousands of nuisance messages were coming from this address. The rules on sending messages are clear, and if the evidence proves the law has been broken, we will issue a sizeable fine against those responsible.”
The raid was prompted by intelligence supported by reports using the ‘7726’ tool, that allows mobile phone users to report spam text messages by forwarding the messages to 7726 (spelling out SPAM).
Curry added: “This shows why reporting messages to us and your mobile network operator is so crucial. Without the reports we got through the 7726 system, we wouldn’t have been able to carry out this raid today.”
The raid follows an announcement by the ICO earlier this week that a Yorkshire direct marketing firm and a Devon PPI claims company were told they face fines totalling £140,000 for breaching electronic marketing rules. The companies were linked to thousands of nuisance marketing calls and prompted over 1,200 reports to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service.
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