FCC issues record $120 million robocall fine

13 May, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Sally Reid
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However, anyone who answered was transferred to foreign call centers, whose employees tried to sell them unrelated travel packages. The agency says companies Adrian Abramovich controlled were behind nearly 100 million robocalls over three months.

The FCC originally issued the fine in 2017, but Mr Abramovich had appealed against the decision and sought to have the fine reduced. "He actually caused harm", countered FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a prepared statement. "Just ask his victims - a number of who are elderly - who were duped into purchasing travel deals under false pretenses", Pai said. "This is the largest illegal robocalling scheme that the FCC has investigated to date, and we are appropriately imposing a $120 million forfeiture in response".

Abramovich's scheme involved calling unsuspecting customers with a prerecorded message instructing them to "Press 1" to hear more about an "exclusive" vacation deal offered by a well-known travel or hospitality company, like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Marriott, or Hilton, the FCC said.

The complaint against Abramovich and his companies, Marketing Strategy Leaders and Marketing Leaders, said these companies made some 96 million computer-dialed calls over a three-month period.

If there were a Guinness World Record for robocalls, a Miami man may have set it.

TripAdvisor and medical paging provider Spōk sent complaints to FCC and actively helped the investigation.

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YouMail, a company that blocks robocalls and tracks them, revealed that an estimated 3.4 billion robocalls to consumers were placed in the month of April in the United States, which is an all-time high.

In southern New Jersey, Tony Novak is frustrated with multiple robocalls a day, many appearing to come from his own area code.

At the same time, Abramovich offered his testimony to a Senate panel examining robocall practices.

With these affordable services and software, nearly anyone can plug in and play in the robocalling game, Abramovich said.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said a year ago "Americans are mad as hell" at robocalls and the agency gets more than 200,000 complaints annually.

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