FCC Hits Largest Robocall Scam with $300 Million Fine

fcc-hits-largest-robocall-scam-with-300-million-fine

Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission imposed a record $300 million fine on the biggest illegal robocall network it has ever investigated, which was responsible for billions of auto-warranty scam calls in recent years. The global illegal operation defied US telecom laws by sending out more than five billion robocalls to over a half-billion phone numbers in only three months in 2021, the FCC announced in a press release on Wednesday.

The FCC added that the campaign had existed for even longer. Using a plethora of shell companies, aliases, and fly-by-night phone providers, purportedly under their control, the people behind the network — about which CNN has previously reported — have attempted since 2018 to deceive consumers into purchasing subpar vehicle service contracts. Roy Melvin Cox Jr. and Aaron Michael Jones, the ringleaders of the enterprise, were repeat offenders who were already prohibited by court order from engaging in telemarketing.

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Ohio Attorney General’s Lawsuit Reveals Tech Advancements and Policy Measures Tackling Illegal Calls

fcc-hits-largest-robocall-scam-with-300-million-fine
Photo by: Jenny Kane via AP Photo

The lawsuit filed by the Ohio attorney general was the culmination of a joint state and federal investigation that also highlighted the increasing efficacy of technology and policies designed to stem the tide of illegal robocalls. Upgrades in call tracing, for example, have allowed investigators to swiftly determine the source of unwanted, automated calls, while additional FCC policies allowed regulators to block entire voice providers from the US telephone network for robocall offenses.

The partnership between the FCC and Ohio officials has been replicated in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, with Hawaii and New Mexico joining the list on Thursday. The Justice Department is now responsible for collecting the federal fine, according to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who added that in the future, Congress should authorize the FCC to pursue payment through the courts on its own.

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Source: CNN, Channel 3000

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