London: An Indian man is plaguing half a million Britons with illegal spam messages a day telling them that they are entitled to a refund for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
The IT boss Jayessh Shah makes millions by selling British mobile phone users, who respond to his spam messages to claims management companies for as little as 90p each.
The claims firms then pursue banks for PPI refunds on behalf of the customer, but take a hefty fee.
'"Often you must be receiving [PPI] SMS on your mobile... that is my company.' Then he boasted: 'If I was not making millions, I would not be doing this business," he told an undercover reporter.
According to the Daily Mail, Shah has flooded mobile users with hundreds of millions of pest texts over the past four years.
Shah is the CEO of his IT company called Vinayak Infotech and Telecommunications Solutions (Vintels), which consumer websites and experts complain is one of the most prolific transmitters of spam texts to British mobiles, the report said.
What he is doing is illegal, but the authorities are powerless to prevent him because his company is based overseas, it added.
For every PPI text a Brit receives and replies to, Shah earns 7.50 pounds by selling your mobile number to a British-based claims management company (CMC) whose salesmen then harass them with repeated calls.
He then makes more money by selling the numbers to other CMCs, for as little as 1 pound each time, which means Brits will be called by yet more salesmen.
Spam text-messaging for PPI has reached an 'epidemic' level in the UK, with nine out of ten Britons having received one in the past few months, said a recent survey for the Citizens Advice Bureau, the report said.
Shah, 41, said his company is among the top five firms that inundate British mobile phone users with texts.
But unlike his British rivals, Shah said, the law cannot touch him because he operates from India.
"See, it is illegal to send marketing SMS in the UK if you are based in the UK. But I am based in India so it becomes an overseas company, I can do broadcasting sitting in India," he said.
According to the report, but despite sending spam on such an 'industrial' scale, the authorities are powerless to shut him down because his firm sends the texts from India.
Had his company operated in the UK, Vintels could have been shut down and Shah could have been fined up to 500,000 pounds under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), the report added.