07/12/2001

TSS warns businesses to beware of misleading mail

The DETI’s Trading Standards Service (TSS) have warned businesses to be on the lookout for approached made by a company called the ‘Data Collection Enforcement Agency’.

The TSS say that this company, which has no connection with any official government agency, has been sending businesses an ‘Urgent Notice’ claiming that the businesses are not recorded with them as registered under the Data Protection Act 1998.

The mailing states that failure to register constitutes a “criminal offence” and that they are therefore liable to a “large fine”. Several of these businesses, believing that this communication was from an official body, have contacted TSS for advice.

A spokesman from TSS said: “The Data Collection Enforcement Agency has no powers to demand that a business registers with it nor can it issue fines. The organisation which actually oversees the Data Protection Act is the Information Commissioner, formerly known as the Data Protection Registrar. This official body has no relationship with the Data Collection Enforcement Agency.

“We recommend that businesses check their own position in relation to data protection by using the Information Commission helpline number 01625 545 745.”

Further details are also given in the Trading Standards Service website at www.tssni.gov.uk. The Information Commission charges £35 for registration and provides a helpline and advice service. (SP)

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