The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner's Office, tasked with watching over British data protection, is getting serious. One ndustry observer recently noted that text message spam is now being scrutinized; particularly what officials refer to as “an increasing wave of insurance industry and accident compensation-related spam.”
According to a survey of 1,014 people by the ICO, Kirk noted, “681 said they had received a text that had caused them concern. More than 200 said they were troubled by text spam and wondered how their details were obtained.”
The office has conducted one raid, Kirk reported, adding that they plan more raids “targeting operations that collect sales leads by illegally sending unsolicited text messages.”
What makes this a SIM issue is that the messages in question are often sent from SIM servers or banks, “or a hardware devices in which dozens of SIM cards can be inserted and used with automated software to dial hundreds of phones” citing ICO sources.
What’s particularly irritating about the messages is that they frequently instruct a user to text back "stop" to receive no further messages, as Kirk explains -- “but that action merely confirms it is a valid number.”
So what do the spammers want? A user to text back "claim" if they are considering legal action related to an accident. As Kirk said, again citing ICO sources, “if someone texts back 'claim,' they not only know that it's a live number but potentially someone is ready to take legal action in relation to an accident.” That information is then harvested and sold to insurance agencies, lawyers and the like.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Tammy Wolf