The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today announced that it has closed down 19 unlicensed loan lead generation websites. Lead generation businesses source information from people looking for credit and sell this data on to other businesses.
The websites targeted people with disabilities, those connected to the military and people with limited access to credit. An OFT investigation found the companies were unlicensed and therefore in breach of section 39 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
The sites have now been taken down by the businesses concerned or shut down with the cooperation of the website hosts. The OFT is continuing to monitor the situation to see whether the sites reappear with different web hosts.
- You can have your say about companies selling your personal details with Which? Conversation’s blog post Who’s been flogging my financial details?
Consumers should be wary of lead generators
David Fisher, OFT Director of Consumer Credit, said: ‘Websites like the ones we have shut down target vulnerable people and those who may not have easy access to credit. We advise consumers to think carefully before entering personal data into any lead generation website, in case this information is passed on without their knowledge.’
Which? credit expert Martyn Saville added: ‘It’s great that the OFT is clamping down on these rogue firms operating without a consumer credit license. The recent super-complaint by Citizen’s Advice shows that coldcalling and upfront fees charged for loan broking services already pose significant problems for people struggling to access mainstream credit. The last thing these consumers need is to fall into the hands of an unlicensed lead generator who will sell their details to other lenders.’
The full list of websites closed by the OFT
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