It has only been a matter of weeks since the Antiques Trade Gazette’s last warning concerning scam letters targeting small businesses over the Data Protection Act. Despite the alert, however, dealers continue to be at risk and the complaints we have received about one firm in particular have, if anything, increased.
On the front page of Gazette No 1605, September 13, we warned of Sheffield-based Data Protection Agency Services, one of a number of companies condemned by the Information Commissioner for trying to scare businesses into paying unnecessary fees for what is a straightforward service.
The firm is one of a growing number of unscrupulous enterprises – all of whom adopt official-sounding names – sending out letters warning of penalties for those who do not register under the Act and offering to carry out registration for a fee.
The key things to remember are:
• Not every firm need register anyway; and
• Those that do can do so simply through the official means for only £35.
Anyone receiving letters warning them of the dangers of failing to register should first check whether they really need to register. They can do this by checking under the Notification Information section on the Information Commissioner’s website. Any approach involving payment of more than £35 for registration should be avoided. In addition, those receiving what appear to be scam letters should report them to their local trading standards department.
Those that do need to register, or who want the relevant forms and information sent to them, can contact the notification help line on 01625 545740.
The Information Commissioner gives a clear warning about these scam companies on his official website and lists those condemned, including the Sheffield-based firm.
Full information on registration and how to avoid being conned is available on the Commissioner’s website at www.dataprotection.gov.uk.