The Federal Commerce Fee has despatched extra joint letters with the Federal Communications Fee to three firms offering Voice over Web Protocol companies, warning them that routing and transmitting unlawful coronavirus-related rip-off robocalls is prohibited 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.
The entire 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, nevertheless 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 official companies 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 profiting from the coronavirus nationwide well being disaster, and notes that the USTelecom Trade Traceback Group has helped determine numerous entities that seem accountable 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 another 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 Provider 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 at the side of 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 accountable for initiating the calls, making it troublesome 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’ potential to determine and cease malicious robocalls capitalizes on public anxiousness concerning 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. Additionally they revealed that RSCom, additionally a gateway supplier, seems to be transmitting calls from Voice Are Us, Ltd., a telecom firm primarily based in the UK.
In January, the FTC despatched letters to 19 VoIP service suppliers warning them that “aiding and facilitating” unlawful telemarketing or robocalling is towards the legislation.
In late March and early April, the FTC despatched 12 extra letters (three of which had been despatched collectively with the FCC) to VoIP service suppliers and different firms, warning them that they might be aiding unlawful telemarketing regarding coronavirus.
The entire FTC’s latest warning letters to VoIP service suppliers cite the FTC’s case towards Globex Telecom, a VoIP supplier that the FTC charged in 2019 with aiding 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 aiding a vendor or telemarketer who they know, or consciously keep away from realizing, 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 had been defrauded by way of unlawful telemarketing calls.
Up to date statistics concerning the variety of Do Not Name complaints present a drop in criticism quantity.
View the newest statistics right here.
Richard B. Newman is an FTC protection lawyer at Hinch Newman LLP. Comply with him on Fb @FTC protection lawyer.
Informational functions solely. Not authorized recommendation. Could also be thought-about lawyer promoting.