21/01/2017 06:01 GMT

Potential Scammers Are Paying As Little As 4p For Your Private Information

'They are willing to sell to anyone who comes calling.'

You might place a high value on keeping your personal information private, but according to a new report, scammers are selling it for pocket change.

Which Money orchestrated an undercover investigation into the data industry, where the buying and selling of people’s personal information, including sensitive financial secrets, is rife. 

Getting into the hands of potential nuisance callers and would-be scammers for as little as 4p per record. 

BrianAJackson via Getty Images

Harry Rose, Which Money Editor, said: “Data is being traded on a huge scale, with some companies apparently willing to sell to anyone who comes calling.”

Which looked at 14 data-selling companies, by posing as a “dodgy firm” with the intention of carrying out a common pension scam.

Despite this agenda reportedly being made obvious, the investigators were able to order the information from ten of these 14 firms.

Examples of the information at their fingertips were addresses, jobs, salaries and pensions of half a million people aged over 50-years-old.

Not only that but in one order the team were handed the telephone numbers of 18 people – 72% of which had signed up to the opt-out Telephone Preference Service register.

The Which team say that by doing basic background checks, these companies could have found that the cover story provided didn’t stand up – as not only were they not a registered business, they weren’t FCA regulated either.

Although Which says that when they were later confronted the companies, they claimed they would have done further checks later down the line.

If you are worried you are being targeted, Which recommends never giving permission for your data to be shared with third parties and if you are called out of the blue about a financial opportunity, always hang up and report to Ofcom.