Text spammers could face massive fines

Many motor car insurance customers have had the distinct displeasure of receiving unsolicited texts messages on their mobile phones thanks to car insurance companies selling on customers’ information to claims management companies, but now text spammers could face massive fines as high as £500,000 thanks to a new crackdown.

A recent research study discovered that an incredible 20 million mobile phone users have been on the receiving end of unsolicited texts from a variety of sources, and usually for things they have no interest in.  Many have received unsolicited texts informing them they’re entitled to thousands of pounds for such things as mis-sold insurance, even when they never took out any policies, mis-sold or otherwise.

Text spammers send millions of text messages every month in the hopes of enticing recipients to respond to in the hopes they will generate business for whatever service they’re offering, such as pensions services or help with discount car insurance claims.  It’s nearly impossible to identify the entities sending these unsolicited texts, and even if a recipient responds by telling the sender to stop, the sender learns that there’s a live person at the other end of the line, thus setting up the hapless recipient for more texts in the future on other subjects.

Unsolicited texts can be big business, as leads generated by spam texts are usually purchased by claims management firms for £5, who then turn around and sell it on to a claims solicitor for as much as £300.  However, new changes have given power to the Information Commissioner’s Office to fine organisations and companies who send unsolicited texts to consumers, said ICO director of operations, Simon Entwisle.

Mr Entwisle said that the ICO believes that there has been a massive rise in texts sent using random number generators from the end of 2011.

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