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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry
Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Mark Brennan

FCC Proposes $82 Million Fine for Illegally “Spoofed” Robocalls

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has adopted a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) imposing a $82 million penalty against Best Insurance Contracts (d/b/a Wilmington Insurance Quotes) and its owner/operator Philip Roesel for allegedly making more than 21 million prerecorded robocalls with illegally “spoofed” caller ID information in an attempt to sell health insurance.

As background, the Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits callers from deliberately falsifying caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.  In the NAL, the FCC explained that it received a complaint in December 2016 from a medical paging company that a robocaller was disrupting its network.  Using information provided in the complaint, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau was able to link the calls to Roesel.

In its press release, the FCC stated that it has begun focusing on caller ID spoofing and robocalling enforcement; the problem has grown due to advances in technology making spoofing easier and less expensive.  The FCC has proposed other large fines in recent months, such as a proposed $120 million penalty against Adrian Abramovich for allegedly making nearly 100 million spoofed robocalls.  In separate proceedings, the FCC is exploring ways to verify caller ID information and for carriers to block fraudulent calls.

Chairman Pai and Commissioner Clyburn approved the Notice of Apparent Liability while Commissioner O’Rielly approved in part and concurred in part.

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