FCC fines largest-ever amount to illegal robocall operation | ENBLE

FCC fines largest-ever amount to illegal robocall operation | ENBLE

Record-breaking Fine for Illegal Robocall Operation: A Costly Business


Running a robocall operation can be a costly business, it seems, especially if you find yourself on the end of a fine handed out by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The American regulator has just announced what it says is a record-breaking $300 million fine for “the largest illegal robocall operation the agency has ever investigated.”

A Complex Scheme and Lifetime Bans

Operating since at least 2018, the enterprise involved a “complex scheme designed to facilitate the sale of vehicle service contracts under the false and misleading claim of selling auto warranties,” as stated in the FCC’s release. Two of the central players, Roy M. Cox and Aaron Michael Jones, were already under lifetime bans against making telemarketing calls.

Disguised Origins and Overwhelming Volume

The operation placed more than five billion robocalls to over 500 million phone numbers during a three-month period in 2021. It violated federal spoofing laws by using over one million different caller ID numbers to disguise the true origin of the robocalls, increasing the chances of the target answering.

Breathtaking Disregard for Regulations

According to the FCC, the operation egregiously ignored numerous robocall prohibitions, including: – Making pre-recorded voice calls to mobile phones without prior consent – Placing telemarketing calls without written consent – Dialing numbers included on the National Do Not Call Registry – Failing to identify the caller at the start of the message – Failing to give a call-back number to allow call recipients to opt out of future communications – Violating spoofing laws by using misleading caller ID to disguise the caller in the hope of getting the person to answer.

Drastic Decline in Robocalls

In 2022, the FCC took decisive action by ordering all U.S.-based voice service providers to stop carrying traffic linked to members of the operation, resulting in a staggering 99% decrease in robocalls.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act against various entities and individuals connected to the robocalls. The FCC proposed a fine and gave the involved parties an opportunity to respond, which they failed to do. Consequently, they now face this massive $300 million penalty. If they fail to pay, the case will be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Protecting Consumers and Communication Networks

Commenting on the fine, the FCC’s Loyaan A. Egal stated, “We take seriously our responsibility to protect consumers and the integrity of U.S. communications networks from the onslaught of these types of pernicious calls.”

This record-breaking fine serves as a significant deterrent to both existing and potential robocall operators. It underscores the determination of authorities to combat illegal activities that exploit unsuspecting individuals. The FCC’s ongoing efforts to safeguard consumers and the integrity of communication networks benefit not only the individuals affected by robocalls but also the broader community as a whole.