The Federal Commerce Fee has despatched extra joint letters with the Federal Communications Fee to three firms offering Voice over Web Protocol providers, warning them that routing and transmitting unlawful coronavirus-related rip-off robocalls is illegitimate and will result in federal legislation enforcement.
The FTC and FCC allege that two of the suppliers are routing coronavirus-related fraud robocalls originating abroad.
The letters come on the heels of three joint FTC/FCC warning letters despatched to VoIP service suppliers in April 2020.
All the letters warn the recipients that they’ve been recognized as routing and transmitting coronavirus-related rip-off robocalls, and inform them to cease such conduct instantly or face potential legislation enforcement actions.
“We by no means tolerate unlawful robocallers, however it’s particularly abhorrent when scammers exploit pandemic-related anxiousness,” mentioned FTC lawyer Chairman Joe Simons. “These VoIP suppliers should cease permitting unlawful rip-off calls to succeed in customers.”
“We count on nothing much less from these suppliers than shutting down this rip-off robocall visitors,” mentioned FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “These firms can entry our nation’s cellphone networks to offer legit providers to customers and companies, to not facilitate floods of rip-off robocalls. They should cease this visitors and never let it again on their networks—or face shedding their entry to the American cellphone system.”
The businesses despatched a separate letter to USTelecom – The Broadband Affiliation (USTelecom), a commerce affiliation that represents U.S.-based telecommunications-related companies. The letter thanks USTelecom for figuring out and mitigating fraudulent robocalls which might be making the most of the coronavirus nationwide well being disaster, and notes that the USTelecom Trade Traceback Group has helped establish numerous entities that seem chargeable for originating or transmitting coronavirus-related rip-off robocalls.
The letter additional notifies USTelecom that if, after 48 hours of the discharge of the letter, any of the desired originating or gateway suppliers proceed to route or transmit the desired originators’ robocalls on American networks, the FCC will: (i) authorize different U.S. suppliers to dam all calls coming from that gateway or originating supplier; and (ii) authorize different U.S. suppliers to take every other steps as wanted to stop additional transmission of illegal calls from the originator.
The businesses despatched the three letters to the next suppliers: (i) Intelepeer Cloud Communications, LLC of San Mateo, California; (ii) PTGi Worldwide Service Companies, Inc. of Washington, DC; and (iii) RSCom Ltd. of Aurora, Ontario, Canada.
The letters notify the recipients that the FTC and FCC obtained details about their conduct working together with the Traceback Group. The letters to Intelepeer and PTGi additionally state that the businesses refused to confide in the Traceback Group the names of these chargeable for initiating the calls, making it tough for U.S. suppliers to guard customers from unlawful robocall visitors.
Refusing to cooperate with the Traceback Group is “notably problematic,” the letters state, in that hampering U.S. authorities’ capability to establish and cease malicious robocalls capitalizes on public anxiousness in regards to the ongoing international well being disaster.
Investigations carried out with assist from the Traceback Group revealed that PTGi seems to be a gateway supplier for fraudulent COVID-19 robocalls originating from a Germany-based wholesale supplier. In addition they revealed that RSCom, additionally a gateway supplier, seems to be transmitting calls from Voice Are Us, Ltd., a telecom firm based mostly in the UK.
In January, the FTC despatched letters to 19 VoIP service suppliers warning them that “helping and facilitating” unlawful telemarketing or robocalling is in opposition to the legislation.
In late March and early April, the FTC despatched 12 further letters (three of which have been despatched collectively with the FCC) to VoIP service suppliers and different firms, warning them that they might be helping unlawful telemarketing regarding coronavirus.
All the FTC’s current warning letters to VoIP service suppliers cite the FTC’s case in opposition to Globex Telecom, a VoIP supplier that the FTC charged in 2019 with helping and facilitating unlawful telemarketing.
As famous in earlier warning letters, the FTC might take authorized motion independently if it finds VoIP service suppliers or others are helping a vendor or telemarketer who they know, or consciously keep away from figuring out, is violating the company’s Telemarketing Gross sales Rule (TSR). The FTC can search civil penalties and courtroom injunctions to cease TSR violations. It can also search cash to refund customers who have been defrauded by way of unlawful telemarketing calls.
Up to date statistics in regards to the variety of Do Not Name complaints present a drop in grievance quantity.
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Richard B. Newman is an FTC protection lawyer at Hinch Newman LLP. Observe him on Fb @FTC protection lawyer.
Informational functions solely. Not authorized recommendation. Could also be thought of lawyer promoting.