A former accident repair firm worker has been fined for illegally downloading and selling motorists’ personal data to nuisance callers.
Phillip Bagnall, 33, was caught out after bosses at Nationwide Accident Repair Services noticed he was accessing suspicious volumes of customer data from his laptop at home outside work hours.
The company, which provides car crash repair and accident administration services to the UK automotive insurance industry, called in cyber security consultants in November 2016 after customers began complaining about receiving nuisance calls shortly after using its services.
Initial enquiries led to suspicions that Bagnall, from Salford , was involved and it was decided that his access to the company’s computer systems would be monitored.
During a week that Bagnall’s activities were scrutinised, he accessed the data of 2,724 customers without his employer’s consent.
Customers whose data was accessed later received unsolicited and at times aggressive marketing calls regarding their accidents and they were asked whether they wanted to pursue legal claims.
Bagnall, of Scotta Road, Eccles, was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
He refused to comment when he was interviewed and declined to name the person to whom he sold the data.
But Bagnall pleaded guilty to unlawfully obtaining data in breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 when he appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court .
He also admitted a further charge of unlawfully disclosing data was also admitted which was taken into consideration by the magistrates.
Bagnall was fined £500 and was also ordered to pay £364 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.
ICO Criminal enforcement manager Mike Shaw said: “This case serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can make some quick and easy money selling people’s personal information.
“The consequences can be severe. Not only can it can lead to a day in court and the attendant media coverage, but it can cost a person their job and can damage their future career prospects.”
Source: Manchester Evening News