The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) slammed a multinational network of companies with a record-breaking $299,997,000 fine for making more than 5 billion scam auto warranty robocalls to more than 500 million phone numbers in 2021.
During a three-month period, multiple violations were racked up by the international enterprise, the FCC said in an Aug. 3 statement. These included making pre-recorded voice calls to mobile phones without prior express consent, dialing numbers included on the National Do Not Call Registry, failing to identify the caller at the start of the message, and failing to provide a call-back number that allowed consumers to opt out of future calls.
The calls also violated spoofing laws by using misleading caller IDs to disguise the operation’s role and prompt consumers to answer, the agency added.
The enterprise did business as Sumco Panama, Virtual Telecom, Davis Telecom, Geist Telecom, Fugle Telecom, Tech Direct, Mobi Telecom,and Posting Express, the FCC said. Two of the masterminds behind the operation, Roy M. Cox and Aaron Michael Jones, were previously issued lifetime bans from making telemarketing calls following lawsuits by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Texas, the FCC said.
The enterprise had been in operation since at least 2018 and aimed to scam call recipients by facilitating the sale of vehicle service contracts under false and misleading claims of being auto warranties.
Hawaii, NM join partnership
“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,” said Loyaan Egal, FCC Enforcement Bureau chief.
The agency will continue to work with federal and state partners to hold all other entities engaged in similar conduct accountable for their actions, Egal said.
In addition, the FCC’s Robocall Response Team announced the launch of a robocall investigation partnerships with the attorneys general of Hawaii and New Mexico. Forty-six states, the District of Columbia and Guam have now signed a memoranda of understanding to work with the FCC to share evidence, coordinate investigations, pool enforcement resources, and work together to combat illegal robocall campaigns, the agency said.
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Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.
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