Man Facing Largest-Ever FCC Fine Over 97M Robocalls

Company accused of duping people by using their own area codes
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2017 12:23 PM CDT
Alleged Robocalling King Faces $120M FCC Fine
The FCC building in Washington, D.C.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

A man allegedly responsible for millions of illegal telemarketing robocalls may finally be getting his comeuppance in the form of the largest fine ever proposed by the FCC. The agency on Thursday accused Adrian Abramovich of making nearly 97 million robocalls promoting bogus travel deals over the course of three months in late 2016, about 1 million calls a day, reports Bloomberg. The FCC has proposed a $120 million fine, the largest in its 80-year history. According to USA Today, call recipients would be asked to press "1" to hear about travel deals from companies like Marriott and TripAdvisor. Those who did were transferred to call centers where operators would try to sell them on vacation deals and timeshares unaffiliated with those companies.

NPR reports that while making prerecorded telemarketing calls without prior consent is prohibited by the FCC, the fine is a penalty for Abramovich's use of unlawful ID "neighbor spoofing," a technique in which calls appear with the same area code and first three digits of the recipient's phone number, a violation of the Truth in Caller ID Act. The FCC also issued Abramovich a citation for committing criminal wire fraud and violating robocalling limits. Officials say Abramovich's calls also overloaded an emergency medical paging service. The FCC began its investigation after being tipped off by TripAdvisor, which had received numerous consumer complaints. Abramovich has 30 days to respond to the proposed penalty before the FCC makes its final determination. (More FCC stories.)

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