Feeds

Cops bust den of text-spam spewers

ICO survey: Spam texts give us the sads

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Police have raided a UK office they suspect was a front for spam texters and are eyeing up other hotspots of SMS spam in a crackdown announced today by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The police action comes after an ICO campaign to eradicate the practice which they say is distressing to recipients. In a survey also announced today, the ICO said that 95 per cent of people are concerned, inconvenienced or distressed when they receive spam texts and the unsolicited messages often about insurance claims have landed some of them into trouble.

The ICO's Director of Operations, Simon Entwisle, said:

We’ve raided one office, visited various others and are still actively working with mobile phone networks to trace various locations.

We have a good idea about who is behind the messages and we continue to gather evidence to enable us to take enforcement action. So far these individuals have managed to cover their tracks but we’d encourage anyone with information to come forward.

Spam texts are usually sent from unregistered pay-as-you-go SIM cards, but telecoms companies have helped the police by tracking the locations from which clusters of texts have been sent. Sometimes data thieving is involved too – with people's numbers filched from other companies databases, or even sold on. The ICO is separately investigating data protection polices of insurance and accident ligitation companies. Often though, phone numbers are just randomly generated. Spam texting is a fineable offence, carrying a penalty of up to £500,000.

An ICO survey published today shows that spam texts can cause significant distress to recipients. Out of 1,014 respondents, 681 people said that receiving a text caused them concern. They felt troubled about why they had received the text and how their details had been obtained. 205 people said that it was inconvenient, while 61 respondents said the text had caused them substantial damage or distress. Though 12 people said they actually found the texts helpful.

A page on the site lists some of the worst experiences of the people victimised by spam texters. For one person, a bogus text got them into trouble in the office:

I received the text while in the company of my manager on my work phone which I am not allowed to use for private calls. My manager now believes that I am pursuing a claim against the company for a recent injury and this has caused bad relationships between us. Please act now to protect individuals from these vultures.

Another writes:

I made the mistake of texting STOP to the first message I received – now I am getting 4 or 5 a day. It is irritating and intrusive. I have been told the only way to stop it is to change my phone number!

Entwisle advised recipients to never reply to spam texts. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.