White collar crimes – hardly policed

The law is targeted at a) petty (and usually entirely hapless) criminals who commit street crime and petty theft and b) the general public who make small mistakes.

Organised white collar crime is a different matter. (This subject is other than the subject of corporate malfeasance).

These are some examples of white collar crime. A booming industry.

1) Illegal ‘sales’ calls

People who make calls trying to get people to hire them to claim compensation on their behalf for traffic accidents. These calls are often made to people who have registered with something called the Telephone Preference Service. This is an industry body. It has a role (established in law) to maintain a register of people who do not wish to receive sales calls. Direct marketeers are required, in law, to avoid making sales to calls to anyone on this register. (The relevant law is the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. These are based on an EU directive. [1])

Very typically these calls are not only in breach of the above law but are also fraudulent. They typically start with false claims that the people making the call have some information about the proposed victim having been in a traffic accident.

The people making these calls are criminals.

A government department – The Information Commissioner – has legal powers to prosecute the people who make such calls.

The editor of this site repeatedly tried to persuade the The Information Commissioner to take action in regard to some calls of this kind. The first (and in the main) the only response from this government department was to invite your editor to complete an online form. The form asks the complainant to provide details of their phone number, address and name. These details may then be passed on to the criminals by the Telephone Preferences Service. Thus a complaint is likely to lead to the criminals gaining more information with which to target people! The Direct Marketing Association clarified to your Editor that only part of the post-code is shared. Still.

The Information Commissioner’s office explained to your editor that these people are difficult to track because they use techniques such as disguising the phone numbers. Naturally they do. They are criminals. This seems a strange explanation as to why the Editor’s reports were not going to lead to any action – beyond being stored in an “intelligence database”.

Storing of reports in an “intelligence database”, holding informal “compliance meetings” to give the criminals a chance to put their house in order are characteristic features of how government agencies deal with white-collar criminals. Some members of the public at least might wish that next time they forget to pay for their vehicle duty the “offence” is logged on a database and they are invited to a friendly chat with the DVLA and given a chance to put matters right without any action being taken.

That said it seems that the Information Commissioner does carry out occasional prosecutions – which they miss no opportunity to shout about. [2] Given the volume of calls and the widespread nature of this problem it does not appear that the aim is to eliminate this problem.




1. https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/introduction/what-are-pecr/


Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer