FCC hands down $120 million fine against serial robocaller

The Federal Communications Commission has fined a Florida man $120 million for making millions of robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission has fined a Florida man $120 million for making millions of robocalls

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.

Abramovich, meanwhile, had mounted an opposition to the proposed fine, arguing the massive bill was unconstitutional and denying any wrongdoing.

The FCC issued its largest fine in history on Thursday, May 10, against a Florida-based man. "He actually caused harm", countered FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a prepared statement.

The calls used caller ID "spoofing" that mimicks the first six digits of the recipient's phone number, a practice dubbed "neighbor spoofing", the complaint added. Those who did were transferred to foreign call centres where live operators attempted to sell vacation packages, often involving timeshares, at destinations unrelated to the named travel or hospitality companies. This practice is illegal partly because federal officials maintain that victims are far more likely to pick up a call if it appears to be coming from their local neighborhood.

Abramovich allegedly made the calls in an attempt to trick consumers into purchasing "exclusive" vacation deals from renowned travel and hospitality companies such as Expedia, Tripadvisor, Hilton, and Marriott to name a few.

The FCC got a number of complaint calls about this, including complaints from TripAdvisor and Spōk, a medical paging provider company.

Abramovich's methods were typical of most robocall schemes.

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.

Abramovich testified in Congress last month under subpoena over the robocalls, which are illegal. Abramovich said, during the hearing, that his robocalls could be done "with the click of a button" and thousands could be instantly through advances in software.

Kristi Thompson of the FCC says, "Abramovich was engaged in the single largest, malicious, illegal, spoofed robocall campaign that the FCC has ever investigated, and the scale is really off the charts".

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