Two super spammers, who sent millions of nuisance texts "that blatantly break the law" to people claimed they were owed personal injury compensation or payment protection insurance refunds, will be fined more than £250,000.
The spam texts claimed each person was owed a payout for an accident which never happened, or was owed PPI refunds they had never taken out in the first place, according to The Information Commissioner.
The pair must prove their spamming was in line with the law or face fines of over a quarter of a million pounds.
Members of the public reported almost 30,000 calls or texts received from an unknown sender in the last six months, director of operations Simon Entwisle said on the ICO's blog.
"This is an important step that shows those who blatantly break the law will be in line for a sizeable six-figure penalty from the ICO.
"We know that many of the companies making illegal marketing calls and sending spam texts try to operate below the radar.
"However, we have been analysing information in order to identify the most complained-about companies.
He said the spam texts and calls were often from "rogue companies" operating outside the law.
"We wrote to companies who featured at the top of these complaint lists to request details of how they were making sure they complied with the law.
"From the responses we received, eight companies are now being investigated further and have been warned that they may face further action unless they can prove that they are compliant."
He added: "While honest mistakes can occasionally be made, we will look to take action against individuals and companies that continue to break the law."
The ICO has written to both individuals to confirm that it intends to issue the penalties for breaching the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which regulate electronic marketing, a spokesman said.
YOUR SPAM FAQs ANSWERED
Clickjackers on Facebook entice users to copy and paste text into their browser bar by posting too-good-to-be-true offers and eye-catching headlines. Once the user infects his own computer with the malicious code, the clickjackers can take control of his account, spam his friends and further spread their scam. For example, clickjacking schemes hit Facebook soon after bin Laden's death and spread like wildfire by purporting to offer users a glimpse at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/bin-laden-death-video-hoax_n_857730.html" target="_hplink">video or photos of bin Laden's death</a>.
Fake Polls Or Questionnaires
If you click on an ad or a link that takes you to questionnaire on a site outside Facebook, it's best to close the page. When you complete a fake quiz, you help a scammer earn commission. Sometimes the quiz may ask you to enter your mobile number before you can view your results. If the scammers get your number, they could run up charges on your account.
Phishers go after your credentials (username, password and sometimes more), then take over your profile, and may attempt to gain access to your other online accounts. Phishing schemes can be difficult to spot, especially if the scammers have set up a page that resembles Facebook's login portal.
Phony Email Or Message
<a href="http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1187" target="_hplink">Facebook warns</a> users to be on the lookout for emails or messages from scammers masquerading as "The Facebook Team" or "Facebook." These messages often suggest "urgent action" and may ask the user to update his account. They frequently contain links to malware sites or virus-ridden attachments. They may even ask for your username and password. The best advice Facebook offers is to report the sender and delete the messages without clicking anything.
Money Transfer Scam
If a friend sent you a desperate-sounding Facebook chat message or wall post asking for an emergency money transfer, you'd want to help, right? Naturally. That's what makes this scam so awful. The point is to get you to wire money to scammers via Western Union or another transfer service.
Fake Friend Request
Not all <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/10/facebook-friend-request-spam_n_821584.html?page=1" target="_hplink">friend requests</a> come from real people, despite Facebook's safeguards against bots. Some Facebook accounts exist purely to establish broad connections for spamming or extracting personal data from users, so watch out whose friend requests you accept.
Fake Page Spam
Malicious pages, groups or event invitations aim to trick the user into performing actions that Facebook considers "abusive." For instance, a fake invite might offer a prize if you forward it to all your friends or post spammy content on their walls. Sometimes a scammer will set up fake pages as a front for a clickjacking or phishing scheme.
Malicious apps are pretty common on Facebook these days. They can be a cover for phishing, malware, clickjacking or money transfer schemes. Oftentimes, the apps look convincingly real enough for users to click "Allow," as they would do with a normal Facebook app. However, rogue apps use this permission to spread spam through your network of friends. For example, the recent "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/08/facebook-closing-accounts-scam-app_n_846737.html" target="_hplink">Facebook Shutdown</a>" scam spread by claiming that Facebook would delete all inactive accounts except those that confirmed via app installation.
The Koobface Worm
The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koobface" target="_hplink">Koobface worm</a> is getting on in years (it first appeared in late 2008) and has been mostly scrubbed from the site, but Facebook still warns users to look out for it. Koobface spreads across social networks like Facebook via posts containing a link that claims to be an Adobe Flash Player update. Really, the link downloads malware that will infect your computer, hijack your Facebook profile and spam all your friends with its malicious download link. This worm affects mostly Windows users.