The FTC and FCC issued robocall enforcements, including notices to voice service providers. The FCC also expanded its robocall enforcement partnership with the states.
02/22/2023 3:55 P.M.
4 minute read
Recent actions from the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission show the regulators’ ongoing focus on preventing illegal robocalls and enforcement actions against bad actors.
Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau asked voice service providers to no longer allow call traffic from One Eye LLC and issued a cease and desist letter (PDF) to the company to stop transmitting illegal robocall traffic, according to a news release.
One Eye LLC has been the subject of past FCC enforcement actions.
“Our investigators are not fooled by rebranding and figurehead ownership tricks, said Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan Egal. “We are not going to allow serial robocallers to simply start up ‘new’ companies to continue scamming American consumers. Repeat offenders will face stiffer penalties.”
The FCC’s investigator found that One Eye LLC “transmitted multiple illegal robocall campaigns,” according to the news release. The calls related to bank impersonation and included claims of “preauthorized orders” placed on a consumer’s bank account.
The news release (PDF) states, “During autumn of 2022, the Traceback Consortium investigated prerecorded voice message calls that Bank of America and customers of Verizon had flagged as illegal robocalls made without consent. The consortium conducted tracebacks and determined that One Eye acted as the gateway provider for the calls. One Eye is a successor entity to PZ/Illum Telecommunication, which received an Enforcement Bureau cease-and-desist letter on Oct. 21, 2021. One Eye’s owner, Prince Anand, explained that he shut down PZ/Illum Telecommunication due to the FCC’s letter but that he then launched One Eye LLC to originate calls, leaving his name off the paperwork while remaining the only owner. [The] FCC letter targets this ‘new’ company with heightened enforcement powers including the use of the ‘K4 Notice’ to encourage other providers to refraining from carrying this traffic.”
On a larger scale, the FCC has a Robocall Response Team established by Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to block active robocall scams and implement caller ID authentication known as STIR/SHAKEN.
The FCC has robocall investigation partnerships with 44 states, the District of Columbia and Guam as well as international partnerships with Australia, Canada, Brazil, Romania and the European Union.
The latest partnership is with the Illinois attorney general through a Memorandum of Understanding that establishes frameworks to investigate illegal robocalls together when needed, according to a news release (PDF). States with FCC partnerships have access to the commission’s enforcement staff and resources.
FTC Lawsuit on Robocalls and Ringless Voicemail
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint (PDF) on the FTC’s behalf in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California for a permanent injunction and monetary relief to stop an operation reportedly responsible for unwanted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and ringless voicemail calls, according to a news release.
“This case targets the ecosystem of companies who perpetrate illegal telemarketing to cheat American consumers who are struggling financially,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will continue to take aggressive action to protect consumers from the scourge of illegal robocalls.”
According to the FCC’s complaint, Stratics Networks’ outbound calling service allowed its clients to “route and transmit millions of robocalls using VoIP technology” with offers of debt relief to consumers.
One of the defendants agreed to settle the complaint in the case, according to the FCC.
Illegal robocall mitigation has been a focus of the FCC under Rosenworcel’s leadership that is expected to continue through enforcement actions and rules.
ACA International and joint industry trade association partners have advocated with the FCC to ensure important illegal robocall blocking measures do not impact calls from legitimate businesses consumers want and need, as documented in a letter (PDF) recapping a meeting with these groups and the FCC on its Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, CG Docket No. 17-59.
Meanwhile, the FCC’s modified rule on call exemptions and obtaining consumers’ consent will take effect on July 20, 2023, meaning compliance is required for certain call exemptions and call limits by that date, ACA previously reported.
ACA is working on resources to help members meet their compliance responsibilities.
Roughly two years ago, the FCC issued a rule amending its long-standing exemptions rule for certain automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) calls to residential landlines. The amendments generally limit the number of automated, prerecorded voice calls that can be made to a residential line using an ATDS to three calls within a 30-day period.
But those amendments were on hold for more than 18 months during the change in administration. ACA subsequently filed a petition (PDF) for partial reconsideration of the rule and now, with the FCC’s December 2022 ruling, they have been modified again.
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