back to article Homes raided in North West over data thefts from car body repair shops

Two properties in the North West of England were raided this morning as part of an ongoing investigation into nuisance calls related to data thefts from car body repair shops. The pair of search warrants — which had been obtained in court by Information Commissioner's Office — were executed this morning at homes in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh great.

    So, our details are already in the wild.

    Chuffing great...

    Ready to be bought by the next shysters.

    1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      Re: oh great.

      But this article doesn't explain how the scammers got the details of the accident that never happened >:-(

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: oh great.

        I have had a couple of calls from a London (02) number about accidents that I never had, and once accidentally pressed the redial option and found it was a non-existent number. Sadly too much other sh*t in life to spend my time following that case up...

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: oh great.

          "I have had a couple of calls from a London (02) number about accidents that I never had, and once accidentally pressed the redial option and found it was a non-existent number. "

          At some point in my life I had too much spare time, so when I got one of these automated call I picked the option to have a person call me. The first thing they wanted to know was details about my accident. I said "you called me, you said you had all the details in your records". Obviously the guy didn't, so he got abuse for me wasting his time.

        2. JohnG

          Re: oh great.

          "I have had a couple of calls from a London (02) number about accidents that I never had, and once accidentally pressed the redial option and found it was a non-existent number."

          Spoofed caller id.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: oh great.

        "But this article doesn't explain how the scammers got the details of the accident that never happened"

        Reading between the lines, it seems likely that an (ex)employee took the details of everyone that had asked for a repair quote, so in this case, there might actually have been a real accident.

  2. Nifty Silver badge

    Right, next prang I have, it's a burner phone

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Not a current member of staff. Says everything about the perp.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My partners car got hit by a bus when not even in it, luckily someone saw it and noted the bus number.

    I think I've lost count of the number of calls shes had asking her if she wants to make a personal injury claim. Even though they have been told clearly that she wasn't in the car at the time.

    It's easy to sort out, pass a law that requires these sorts of companies to record and disclose where they got your data from when challenged with the power to shut them down if they don't and hold the owner criminally responsible. If you can't explain where you got the data then it is obviously a result of theft therefore there is no excuse. This could apply to a lot of industries and would be a good step to giving people back ownership of their data.

    Then I woke up, had some corn flakes and thought to myself don't be so effing stupid trying to apply common sense to government or businesses.

    1. Kevin Fairhurst

      Someone drove in to the side of my vehicle a couple of weeks ago, as I was on a dual carriageway. Got a call last week and the caller knew all about the accident, and made it sound as though he was from the third party's insurance company. Started going on about putting a claim together on my behalf to cover any injuries or twinges I might have experienced, with a value of £1500. At this point I asked him to call back as I was busy with something.

      When he called back I got him to clarify who he was calling on behalf of, and it turned out to be a company called Motor Assist. Apparently they're a personal injury specialist, and are not affiliated with either my insurance or the third party's insurance.

      So I asked where he got my details, and he said he got them from the central Motor Insurance Bureau Database, where all accidents are logged. He claimed that they had access and got the details from there. He got very tetchy when I paraphrased him and said "so you were scanning down the database for accidents to see who to cold call?" - refused to accept that they were doing anything so awful!

      After answering a couple of questions negatively (Did anyone else send you the details? Did anyone else access the database and send the details on to you?) I restated my previous comment that they had been scanning the database for accidents for people to contact, as the data isn't going to magically extract itself. He went off on one before hanging up on me. Shame It was a withheld number or I would have made sure it got reported!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There is no "central Motor Insurance Bureau Database" at least not one that sells your data, I rang them and asked giving them details of one firm contacting.

        Here's the website.

        https://www.mib.org.uk/managing-insurance-data/the-motor-insurance-database-mid/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > It's easy to sort out, pass a law that requires these sorts of companies to record and disclose where they got your data from

      Errm... that would be the Data Protection Act 1998, laughable as it is (would have been replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation next year).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > (would have been replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation next year).

        This other article in The Register claims that the General Data Protection Regulation *will* still apply one way or another. I was not aware of that.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "This other article in The Register claims that the General Data Protection Regulation *will* still apply one way or another. I was not aware of that."

          Yes, because it will be an EU requirement that comes into force before we leave. As the PM herself has said recently with regard to negotiations with the EU on leave, we are still a full and active member of the EU until we leave. That means any and all EU directives introduced before the leaving date must be enacted into UK law.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            "That means any and all EU directives introduced before the leaving date must be enacted into UK law."

            All EU _regulations_ _are_ the law. They will stop being the law when Britain leaves the EU, that's why the government will take two years to create a UK law matching each EU regulation, so on the day of leaving all these UK laws will be enacted and there is no change (necessary because there is no matching UK law to fall back to right now).

            All EU directives must be enacted into UK law, but that can take some time, and I think right now the EU will not complain too much if the UK is a bit slow enacting some directive into UK law.

  5. ma1010
    Thumb Up

    At least be happy someone cares

    You Right-Pondians should be happy that at least someone in your government cares about stopping these spammers. Over here in the U.S., our government is doing everything it can to increase spam (e.g., allowing ISPs to sell our personal details to whoever).

  6. earl grey
    Devil

    i always invite them to my home

    Of course, they end up in a carpet in the lime pit, but really now, what did they expect?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i always invite them to my home

      What a waste of carpet.

      1. Scroticus Canis
        Holmes

        Re: "What a waste of carpet."

        Blood is too hard to remove properly, better to chuck it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: i always invite them to my home

      On that subject. Any one had the balls to go into a DIY shop and ask for a short piece of rope, tarpaulin, gaffer tape, a spade and a bag of lime?

      1. cantankerous swineherd

        Re: i always invite them to my home

        my friend has all of the except the bag of lime, where does he get large quantities of such a useful household chemical?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

    Bit of a poll here, genuinely interested.

    - Do you answer your personal phone when an unknown or withheld number is calling?

    - If so, why?

    - Do you check who the number belongs to (e.g., via Google search) before answering?

    Just curious, ta!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

      - Do you answer your personal phone when an unknown or withheld number is calling?

      Yes

      - If so, why?

      It could be anyone and might not be a spammer. Last "odd" incoming number I got was yesterday. It was the practice nurse from my GP calling on her mobile phone to book me in for a check-up. Call me old fashioned, but I feel it rude to allow a call to go to answer-phone if I am able to answer it. Of course, if it's a spammer I feel it my duty to answer their rudeness for cold calling me in the first place in kind!

      - Do you check who the number belongs to (e.g., via Google search) before answering?

      No, that takes even longer than ust answering the call and hanging up on spammers. And that's assuming I have instant internet access at the time (which my phone doesn't during a call)

      Oh, and as an aside, my latest ruse with cold callers is to sound surprised when they say who they are calling on behalf of, tell them I also work for $company and that all staff phone numbers are supposed to be flagged as Do Not Call and I'll be contacting their manager to confirm the number has now been flagged. Oddly, that seems to be working judging by the drop in spam calls recently :-)

    2. Tony W

      Re: You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

      Yes.

      "Withheld" was very recently my sister calling from a hospital staff phone because she couldn't get her mobile working and needed to be picked up. "International" could be my friend who lives in Damascus and whom, for obvious reasons, I tend to worry about. Etc. It doesn't take long to dispose of a cold call, it's usually obvious within 10 s. I prefer to answer than to risk getting it wrong.

      I did get a huge spate of nuisance calls after my car had been in a body repair shop (damage done when no-one was in the car.) Insurance company told me the database only has registration number so would need an "official" body to get from there to my phone number. The most likely source of the leak was obvious but how can you prove anything? "I'm calling about your compensation..." "click...". Secret is not to get annoyed. There are worse things in life.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

      Yes.

      Because Caller ID is not accurate. The last "Private" call I got was an international call from a company I needed to talk to.

      No, is there a point when caller ID is inaccurate?

    4. Jay 2

      Re: You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

      As of late I've been getting a few "you've had an accident" calls. They all have a number, but that's usually spoofed I think, especially given this real world example from my phone:

      020 3457 4186 London, England

      +20 3 457 4186 Egypt

      So nowadays I just let them ring out and take the opinion that if it's important they'll leave a message or try again. Though I believe that some kosher places, NHS being one, won't leave a message and may not try again. If there's no voicemail then I'll look up the number and if it looks dodgy enough then I'll block it. Early on in all this I used to answer the call and play along for a minute or two until they got annoyed and hung up.

      I've had the same number for ~17 years and only in the past year have been receiving such calls/texts, usually for someone with a stupidly generic name. I wonder where exactly my number was obtained from.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

        "I wonder where exactly my number was obtained from"

        Most likely wasn't.

        Autodialler + very, very cheap calls (if not free due to phreaking) = dial (10's) or thousands of numbers per day and bingo.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

      > - Do you answer your personal phone when an unknown or withheld number is calling?

      No.

      > - If so, why?

      N/A

      > - Do you check who the number belongs to (e.g., via Google search) before answering?

      No. If I am expecting a call I will already have the caller's number. If I am not expecting it, I'm not interested.

      Not a big fan of synchronous communications for anything other than a pre-agreed call anyway.

    6. cantankerous swineherd

      Re: You boys and girls actually answer your phone?

      only answer known (by me) numbers. google the rest and block; they're never legit.

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