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Thousands of SIM cards disabled for spamming in UK

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 02 Mar 2012 11:04

Thousands of SIM cards disabled for spamming in UK Over 20,000 SIM cards disabled for spamming.
Action taken by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and network providers have led to the blocking of over 20,000 SIM cards in the United Kingdom, which have been used to send large amounts of spam. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) estimates that eight million spam messages are sent in the UK every day.

The ICO admits that the latest action against mobile spam is just beginning to scratch the surface of the problem. The office was granted new powers six months ago to address the growing issue.

Spam texts can generate millions of pounds for those involved in spreading them. Far from trying to phish credit card information, many of the messages intend to provoke a user to respond. "Once they spammers have trapped your number they will then sell it into the claims industry," David Clancy, investigations manager at the ICO, said.

"First users will pay 1, 1.50 for that phone number. A month later it will be distributed to lots of organisations for 50p, 20p, 10p a time. It makes a lot of money."

The ICO's new powers enable it to execute search warrants when there is reason to believe spam texts are being sent. It can also compel mobile operators to hand over information, and issue fines of up to 500,000 for offences.

Clancy said the best thing that mobile phone users can do is simply not reply to spam messages. "I've done it myself as part of this investigation," he said. "I've been contacted by numerous organisations offering me payment protection insurance claims, dent management claims and accident claims - don't respond."

Tags: UK
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