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Scammers fined $300 million for five million illegal robocalls to mobile numbers

Staff Reporter
August 9, 2023

An international network of companies that made more than five million illegal spoof robocalls to sell car warranties has been fined nearly $300 million by the Federal Communications Commission.

The scammers sold car service contracts claiming they were warranties and were named Sumco Panama, Virtual Telecom, Davis Telecom, Geist Telecom, Fugle Telecom, Tech Direct, Mobi Telecom, and Posting Express. They worked from a database of 500 million phone numbers.

Two of the central players of the operation, Roy M. Cox and Aaron Michael Jones, were already under lifetime bans against making telemarketing calls following lawsuits by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Texas.

The FCC says the men and the companies named violated federal statutes and FCC regulations when they ran a scheme to make more than five billion robocalls to more than 500 million phone numbers during a three-month span in 2021. This violated federal spoofing laws by using more than one million different caller ID numbers in an attempt to disguise the origin of the robocalls and trick victims into answering the phone.

When people answered the calls they heard a pre-recorded message. The offences were making calls to mobile phones without prior express consent, placing telemarketing calls without written consent, dialling 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 ID to disguise the enterprise’s role and prompt consumers to answer.

We take seriously our responsibility to protect consumers”

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 FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan A. Egal.

I want to thank the Enforcement Bureau’s Telecommunications Consumers Division for its groundbreaking work on this case, and we will continue to work with our federal and state partners to hold these entities and others engaged in similar conduct accountable.”

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