back to article Rogue PIs found guilty of illegally snagging personal financial info

Staff at a firm of loss adjusters and two rogue private investigators the biz hired have been found guilty of data protection offences. A jury at Maidstone Crown Court returned 15 guilty verdicts in a case brought by the Information Commissioner's Office as part of a wider investigation into corporate use of dodgy gumshoes. …

  1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    and who were the blue chip firms?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In this case, the blue chip firm would be Van Ameyde Group BV, who claim themselves (LinkedIn) to be "Europe’s leading claims outsourcing organisation. Its client base includes major insurance providers, corporate risk managers and motor fleet managers. Van Ameyde’s service-offering ranges from off-the-shelf to fully customised solutions for all non-life insurance lines. In addition, Van Ameyde offers IT solutions to help its clients improve their claims performance."

      Woodgate & Clark Ltd itself is owned 25% by Michael Woodgate, 25% Richard Clark, and 50% by Van Ameyde. The use of a toss-pot front company was (in my guess) a cynical practice to avoid Van Ameyde's name being associated with dodgy practice, and Woodgate & Clark's website makes no mention of Van Ameyde, although it seems they had come to the attention of SOCA. The real, beneficial client I'm not sure we will ever know, but chances are it is a well known name in the UK insurance market, who had concerns about a claim, and passed it to Van Ameyde for them to investigate and possibly settle (W&C offer loss adjusting services, so basically arguing claims down).

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Information To Easy To Obtain.....

      No no no, don't ask those questions. The upcoming changes to banking terms which allows them to share your information with "selected" 3rd parties is fine and there is no possibility of it being used in fraudulent ways... ever. Ok? Just keep repeating that... it's fine. Ok? Ok. Thanks.

      In fact, just look at the awesome job they've done at communicating these changes to the public. Amazing job. First class.

      So honestly... it's fine.

      Noooo problems anywhere... so we're all good yeah?

      The horizon is sans problems.


      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Nimby

    Rogue PIs found guilty

    Kinda bummed to learn that was a reference to Private Investigators, not to a botnet of hacked RASPBERRY PIs.

  4. Paul Woodhouse

    tip of a rather large iceberg methinks.....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure Woodgate and Clark Ltd were shocked, shocked!, to learn of such heinous crimes by the PI's they hired.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: shocked, shocked!

      > I'm sure Woodgate and Clark Ltd were shocked, shocked!, to learn of such heinous crimes by the PI's they hired.

      The firm's director, Michael Woodgate, was found guilty of two counts

      Let's just hope that the sentence is custodial. A fine, which is bound to be smaller than the profit of rogue trading, just isn't sufficient incentive to behave well.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: shocked, shocked!

        Or sufficient incentive to make sure that your branch office in Panama deals with this data next time.

        The point of using PIs is deniability, they report to your offshore office who creates the report that you read on their remote machine

  6. Aqua Marina

    How times have changed.

    A decade ago it was considered fair game if a PI went through your rubbish and got their sticky mitts on your bank statement and passed it on to someone else. It was considered your own fault for not shredding it. The law has not changed since then but now they are prosecuting the PIs for the same thing.

    This madness will not be allowed to continue, it’s only a matter of time before the government decides that personal protections are getting in the way of dodgy business.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: How times have changed.

      I doubt anything's changed. It's still legal to go through rubbish I think. So that wouldn't be unlawfully obtaining data - though of course the charges of unlawfully passing on private data could still stand, for giving it to other people.

      However what certain private investigators got good at, is blagging. There were some that various newspapers used, and a big stink coming out of the ICOs operation motorman in 2003. I think some of those people were also involved in the phone hacking thing. Oddly it was the Daily Mail that was found to have used PIs more than any other paper, but they managed to stay out of the phone hacking scandal.

      Of course the Mirror did lots of phone hacking, but got away with a lot less flack than the Murdoch press.

      Anyway some people are just good at blagging. I've done it a few times when dealing with family stuff (mostly for Mum and Dad), and just talked my way past security on things like insurance and utilities. Even banking once for Dad. I've had good reasons, and managed to persuade the call centre person to stretch what they're allowed to do in order to help me solve a genuine problem.

      So all you have to do is lie convincingly, and as long as you're not asking them to transfer £1,000 to an unknown account - I'm sure you can find a plausible reason to get them to send a bank statement to "check a problem transaction" or deal with a legal dispute "because Dad's on a business trip for the next 2 weeks and we need to avoid going to court by tomorrow."

      1. allan wallace

        Re: How times have changed.

        Re: "It's still legal to go through rubbish I think."

        - it's not been legal for a very long time - have a quote:

        "One precedent-setting example from 1877 was the case of a diseased buried pig. According to legal text Archbold's Pleading, Evidence, and Practice in Criminal Cases, even if someone discards something and does not intend to use it again, they can retain ownership of it."



    Perhaps not the first time in front of the beak for these two....

    1. newspuppy

      Very interesting potential backstory... or incredible coincidence...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ---> Perhaps not the first time in front of the beak for these two....


      Reading the timeline it looks to me like these offences may have been committed before sentencing the last time?

      If they committed the new offences AFTER doing porridge last time they'll be in for a long stretch as it'll be impossible to argue any mitigation.

  8. Lysenko

    I thought this was going to be something different...

    Rogue PI's ... as in Raspberry Pi SBCs left open on the internet.

    I'm sure lots of them exist out there based on the number of bots trying to SSH my servers using "raspberry" and "pi" as credentials. Mostly from China (expected), India (expected), USA (expected - would you like a side order of Fail2Ban with that Mr NSA) and Italy!???

    Evil Rooskies seem to leave me alone for some reason.

    1. Chairman of the Bored

      Re: I thought this was going to be something different...

      Change your default SSL port, mate. You will be shocked to see how much the attacks drop off. What's left is probably from threats that kid at least a cursory nmap on you - makes them interesting from a counter targeting perspective. Mumble, mumble... f'in script kiddies, mumble mumble.

  9. earl grey

    Now, who's up for checking out the credit reporting agencies?

    Thought not. A little time in chokey might change their attitude.

  10. Spanners Silver badge

    It's a start

    A very very very very small start.

    There are bigger companies and even arms of government, local and national, who need to go through this process,

    Do I think the more deserving will face this? Not at all...

  11. unwarranted triumphalism

    Insurance fraud costs everyone money

    Investigating and preventing it is not against the law.

    1. Aqua Marina

      Re: Insurance fraud costs everyone money

      Um, I do believe that in this case, the court said it was!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Insurance fraud costs everyone money

      "Investigating and preventing it is not against the law."

      True. But that's not what they got convicted for. They were convicted for the illegal methods they used to carry out their investigations.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Open Banking

    Just wait for this scheme to start leaking...

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