FCC Gets It Right! $120M fine for Robocaller

FCC Gets It Right! $120M fine for Robocaller

By Matthew Rosenquist Published on June 24, 2017

We all cringe when our phone rings and it is from an unknown caller. Could it be important or just another unwanted telemarketing call? The dilemma is frustrating. You might miss an important call or at worst, fall victim to a scam. Many have signed up to the “Do Not Call” list to avoid telemarketers, but is has become apparent that many unscrupulous marketing companies as well as fraudsters ignore the list and call anyway. They employ robot calling software that can call millions of users and redirect those who answer to waiting call-center staff to sell products or outright defraud you. It is a popular method with scam artists to reach as many victims as possible. The problem is pervasive as automated calls have become more prevalent, more threatening, and harder for authorities and consumers to stop. 

So, when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) makes a big move against the worst of these offenders, it makes me smile! Retribution for all those wasted calls and frustration, as well as justice for those who have played by the rules.  

Today is one of those good days. 

The FTC has recently completed an investigation of the Miami based robocalling company Marketing Strategy Leaders Inc and recommended a massive $120 million fine for the owner. Per the findings outlined in the citation, this company knowingly ignored the Do Not Call list, disrupted emergency telecommunication services, improperly masqueraded their numbers to avoid detection, and schemed to defraud victims by representing themselves as associated with well-known brands. 

Who is Calling?

Caller ID allows users to understand who might be calling their phone. Unethical robocalling organizations use technology to mask their true identities by using other people’s phone numbers, tricking consumers into answering the call, and possibly conveying unwarranted trust of the caller.  

100 Million Robo-Calls in Just 3 Months  

Investigators ascertained that this company, owned by Adrian Abramovich who is specifically called out in the citation, made nearly 100 million robocalls in just a three-month period. This makes it one of the largest illegal robocalling campaigns that the FTC has ever investigated. FTC determined Abramovich engaged in “regular mass-robocalling campaigns during 2015 and 2016 that bombarded American consumers and repeatedly disrupted a critical telecommunications service used by hospitals and emergency medical providers”. On average, the marketing firm made over 28 million calls a day. His organization also ignored the National Do Not Call Registry, which is designed to protect people with an opt-out solution.

The Law

Making autodialed or prerecorded calls to emergency telephone lines or to consumers’ wireless phones and residential telephone lines without consent is illegal. The FCC concluded that Abramovich has violated the law and rights of U.S. citizens. The penalty recommended is $120 million against Abramovich, which will be the largest ever against an individual if approved by the courts.

The FCC chairman Ajit Pai has committed to crack down on robocalls. Apparently, the FTC is moving aggressively to protect Americans from the estimated $350 million losses.   

This may be a good example for other robo-calling organizations to take heed and realize such practices will be pursued, investigated, and prosecuted by authorities. This is a good day for all phone owners in America. Hopefully, we will have far less unwanted calls in our future.   


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