ICO issues largest pension cold-calling fine to date

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued its largest fine ever in relation to pension cold calling, fining EB Associates Group £140,000 for instigating over 107,000 illegal cold calls.

The ICO has also ordered EB Associates to stop making further illegal calls about pensions or the company could face court action.

Pension cold calling was banned by the government in 2019 in an effort to combat the threat of pension scams, with companies who are caught facing enforcement action and fines of up to £500,000.

EB Associates was brought to ICO’s attention during a wider investigation into pension cold calls, which revealed that the company had asked lead generators to make calls on its behalf, paying up to £750 for the referrals.

In total, ICO’s investigation found that EB Associates instigated marketing campaign had made 107,003 illegal pension cold calls between 11 January and 30 September 2019, confirming that the company did not have valid consent to instigate the making of these calls.

ICO head of investigations, Andy Curry, commented: “Our priority is to protect people and we will always take robust action against companies operating illegally for their own financial gain.

“Cold calls about pensions were banned to protect people from scammers trying to cheat them out of their retirement plans.

“We encourage anyone who receives an unexpected call about their pension to hang up and then report it to us.”

The ICO also recently issued a £50,000 fine against Parkin Beacher over pension cold calling concerns, after it received 16 complaints from people about the company's activities, with further investigation revealing that the company had made around 96,817 calls.

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