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Directory Scams Warning

Many of our exhibitor members have reported that they have still been receiving misleading letters which look like free listings in an official looking Fair Directory. The almost illegible small print states that if they sign the form it is a binding contract, and when the form is returned the recipients are chased for large sums of money and being threatened with being taken to court.

If you have sent back any of these forms, you do not need to pay these people. They will not take you to court, even though they may threaten to do so. Send all further letters to your local trading standards office.

Click here for full information on how these directories scams work.

Data Protection Scam

The Fair Guide letter is not the only 'scam' that is currently doing the rounds in the greeting card industry. Another racket goes under the guise of a letter from the 'Data Protection Registrar' and demands £95 to re-register or register on the Data Protection Register. This Register has no connection to the government's Information Commissioner (ICO), who is responsible for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. The source of these letters can be from as many as 20 different bogus companies according to the ICO's department, which has information on its phone system and website warning companies of the confusion.

The ICO has warned of a dramatic increase in the number of letters sent to businesses recently by bogus 'data protection agencies' following a series of large mailings across all industries. In one week alone the ICO took 20,000 calls from businesses across the UK, who have received notices from these 'agencies'. Since February 2003, the ICO estimates it has taken over 50,000 calls on this matter alone.

On an even more sinister note, bogus 'collectors on behalf of data protection' are turning up at business premises demanding payment for Data Protection Registration. These 'collectors' even produce 'official' identification cards and receipt books.

The ICO website lists 21 companies that are under investigation for bogus letters. Injunctions have recently been served against three companies and their owners.

If you have been stung by the data protection scam, contact your local trading standards office. Also see the ICO website