HomeInsightsFormer claims company manager prosecuted and fined £2,000 over “blagging” calls to obtain personal data

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A former claims company manager has been prosecuted for leading a team involved in “blagging” calls in order to obtain personal data illegally.

Joseph Walker appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to 12 offences of unlawfully obtaining personal data under s 55 of the Data Protection Act. A further 44 similar matters were taken into consideration.

The case concerned “blagging” calls, which were made to insurance companies to illegally obtain information about policyholders and road traffic accidents they had been involved in.

At the time of the offences, Mr Walker worked as a manager at a claims management company, UK Claims Organisation Ltd, based in Liverpool.

Data originally obtained unlawfully from a car hire company was used by the employees of UK Claims Organisation Ltd as leads to make calls to insurance companies.

Staff used various guises, including claiming to be calling from solicitors firms, to obtain further information from the insurers, in order to be able to sell cases on to solicitors as personal injury claims.

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, said: “Blagging calls are one of the many disreputable and dishonest tactics we see being used by rogue firms. People’s personal data has real monetary value and this practice shows the lengths some people and organisations will go to in order to get hold of it.”

Walker’s co-defendants, former UK Claims Organisation Ltd employees Lesley Severs and Kayleigh Billington, were fined in November 2016 for their involvement, acting on the instruction of their manager.

Walker, 30, who is originally from Liverpool but now resides in Australia, failed to attend that hearing and was arrested on a warrant during a visit back to the UK.

He was fined £2,000 and was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,600 and a victim surcharge of £15. To read the ICO’s press release in full, click here.