FCC Fines Robocallers for Caller ID Spoofing
I think this may be the first time in my life I've ever wanted to give kudos to the F.C.C., but I was proud of them when I read about the recent $82 million dollar fine they levied against a particular "robocaller". That's a hefty fine, but an even bigger one was issued back in May for $120 million. A big effort to crack down on caller id "spoofing" (using a fake caller id to deceive the person you're calling).
You've likely received a call from a 406 number (sometimes one that's really close to your own number to compel you to answer) only to find out that it was some telemarketing call. Perhaps you have also been on the other end where your number was used as one of these fake caller id's and someone calls you saying "Someone keeps calling me from this number." Either way, it sucks and it should be stopped.
Here is a portion of the FCC's official press release:
WASHINGTON, September 26, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission today fined telemarketer Mr. Philip Roesel and his companies more than $82 million for illegal caller ID spoofing. Mr. Roesel made more than 21 million robocalls to market health insurance.
The Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits callers from deliberately falsifying caller ID information to disguise their identity with the intent to harm, defraud consumers, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
The FCC proposed this fine in the summer of 2017. In response to the proposed fine, Mr. Roesel claimed that the Commission failed to prove intent to harm, that any value he received was not “wrongfully” obtained, and that he did not know he caused harm. The Commission determined that the evidence did not support these claims and is imposing a fine in the amount originally proposed, one of the largest forfeitures ever imposed by the agency.
Mr. Roesel, himself (doing business as Wilmington Insurance Quotes), or through his
company, Best Insurance Contracts, Inc., made millions of spoofed robocalls. He sought to sell health insurance and generate leads for such sales. By spoofing his caller ID information, Mr. Roesel made it difficult for consumers to register complaints and for law enforcement entities to track and stop the illegal calls. Such conduct, along with long-standing Congressional and Commission recognition that illegal robocalls cause consumers significant harm, show intent to cause harm and an effort to wrongfully obtain something of value.
In recent years, the FCC has focused significant policy-making and enforcement resources on confronting malicious caller ID spoofing. Changes in technology have made it easier and cheaper for scammers to make robocalls and to manipulate caller ID information. Beyond monetary penalties like today’s action and the recent $120 million fine against Mr. Adrian Abramovich, the Commission has passed rules to allow phone companies to proactively block calls that are likely to be fraudulent. The agency has also spurred significant progress in establishing a reliable call authentication system to verify the caller ID information that appears on phones.
Action by the Commission September 26, 2018 by Forfeiture Order (FCC 18-134). Chairman Pai, Commissioners Carr and Rosenworcel approving. Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and dissenting in part. Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements.
Definitely a big step in the right direction. Not only are these types of calls annoying, some of them are down right malicious and purposefully target the elderly trying to bilk them out of as much money as possible.