Sunday, 19 August, 2018

US FCC fines Florida man $120 mln in 'robocall' case

US FCC fines Florida man $120 mln in 'robocall' case US FCC fines Florida man $120 mln in 'robocall' case
Russell Knight | 11 May, 2018, 10:37

The Federal Communications Commission voted to impose a $120 million fine Thursday on a Florida man, who allegedly made almost 100 million robocalls to trick consumers into purchasing "exclusive" vacation deals from well-known travel companies.

The FCC said on Thursday that it formally handed Adrian Abramovich the record fine for making nearly 100 million robocalls in three months.

"Tough enforcement is a key part of the FCC's robust strategy for combating illegal robocalls, and this Forfeiture Order represents a big step forward in our enforcement efforts", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Thursday.

To view the full article, register now. The commission finalized the fine on Thursday with the vote at its monthly open meeting.

At the same time, Abramovich offered his testimony to a Senate panel examining robocall practices. He declined to answer some questions about his case, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The FCC said the calls, which violated US telecommunications laws, appeared to offer vacation deals from companies such as Marriott International Inc, Expedia Group Inc, Hilton Inc and TripAdvisor Inc.

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Abramovich told the Senate he had been engaged in legitimate telemarketing for more than 15 years and that the calls were offering real vacation packages.

"The Commission received numerous consumer complaints about these calls".

Investigators said Abramovich used the robocalls to "trick" consumers into answering and listening to his advertisements.

Indeed, FCC spokesman Will Wiquist said that while the FCC is attempting to address illegal robocalls with enforcement, government-industry partnerships and consumer information campaigns that warn about neighbor spoofing, among other things, it's an uphill battle.

YouMail, a company that blocks robocalls and tracks them, estimated 3.4 billion robocalls were placed in April in the United States, an all-time high.

She points out that a set of rules created to prevent robocalls was overturned a couple months ago, and that 20 petitions to the FCC under those rules for legal exemptions and such have yet to be addressed.

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