As expected, in response to increasing pressure in the accident claims sector, the spammers are switching their messaging to claiming for mis-sold personal insurance, bank loans and credit cards. Messages typically look like this:
From: (a mobile number)
URGENT!! if you took out a Bank Loan prior to 2007 then you are almost certainly be entitled to £2900 compensation, to Claim reply YES …
This message is illegal for two reasons: firstly no one has opted in to receive it, and secondly the company is not identified in the message. If a recipient replies to a message with YES or CLAIM they will receive a call to make it into a qualified lead which will be sold on. The call is always from a withheld number (also illegal) and the company will tell you that their name is something like ‘PPI Compensations Team’ or ‘Affiliate Data Systems’ and that information was passed on from their ‘Network Affiliate Response Team’. If you ask for any more information about the company, such as their address or website, then they will simply terminate the call.
The companies have also started to ask if the enquiry was as the result of completing an online survey and that no unsolicited message was received in order to generate the lead. Of course, as the spammers and the company calling are one and the same, they know that the lead was a result of their unsolicited message. However, if someone believes that they really will bet £2900 then they are likely to agree that they did indeed complete an online survey. By creating this collusion with the claimant it confirms to the company that they will not report them for an unsolicited text when they reveal their identity much further down the line. However the fact remains they are operating illegally in both the SMS and by refusing to reveal the company’s identity during the call.
The advice for dealing with these messages and calls remains the same as the accident claims ones. Best advice is to ignore it and report it to your operator (forward the message to 7726, or 67726 on Vodafone). If you have any further information about the company then report it to the Information Commissioner. Exactly the same operational methods are being used for the loans that have been used for the accident claims texts. The company, Affiliate Data Systems have been doing the rounds for some time. If you want to have fun with it, then you can reply YES and make up a claim (as long as you don’t actually attempt to claim) and waste as much of their time as you can.