UPDATE: T-Mobile staff sell customer details to cold callers
1720 update - PA has confirmed that the mobile service provider under investigation by the ICO is T-Mobile.
"T-Mobile customers' personal information was passed to third parties "without our knowledge", a spokesman confirmed today."
Scary biscuits. A breaking news story today from the ICO, one that explains how those dubious cold calling companies know when you're due to upgrade your mobile:
Investigators at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have been working with a mobile telephone company after the firm suggested employees allegedly sold details relating to customers’ mobile phone contracts, including their contract expiry dates. It is alleged that the information was being sold on to the service provider’s competitors whose agents were using the material to cold call customers prior to contract expiry dates to offer them an alternative contract. The service provider has alleged that many thousands of customer account details have been unlawfully obtained.
The ICO has investigated and it appears that the information has been sold on to several brokers and that substantial amounts of money have changed hands. The ICO has obtained several search warrants and attended a number of premises, and is now preparing a prosecution file.
The ICO are withholding the name of the mobile service provider, pending what seems an inevitable court case. We can't say we're surprised that evidence has been uncovered - far too many people have received cold calls from unrelated third parties who seem to know more details than they should - and it's more of a surprise this is only coming to light now. Let's see who the culprit turns out to be - one company in particular springs to mind in the Bitterwallet office.