Data protection scam targets industry with false register

Leading horticulturist warns of scam plaguing industry and leaving companies out of pocket

A leading horticulturist has warned about a data protection scam that has been plaguing industry in general for several years. Operations director of Gloucestershire-based Batsford Arboretum, Stuart Priest, says companies who fall for it will be of pocket. His warning has the backing of the information commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing the Data Protection Act (DPA), and the Horticultural Trades Association. Priest said: “I got a letter from the Data Protection Enforcement Agency in Rochdale demanding £135 to register under the Data Protection Act. It does not cost £135 to register, it costs £35 and this is a scam. They do not have powers to demand you pay up and to threaten you with fines.” Information commissioner Richard Thomas said: “The golden rule is that if you receive a letter out of the blue demanding more than £35 to register under the DPA this will be a scam. “Bogus agencies use threatening language to scare businesses into registering. Over the past two years these scams have cost business thousands of pounds.” An HTA representative said its members could ask it for advice. The advice from the commissioner is for anyone with concerns to call 01625 545740.

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