FCC Targets Source of 77M Robocalls Per Day

Orders US phone companies to block calls asking about vehicle warranties
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2022 6:20 AM CDT
FCC Targets Source of 77M Robocalls Per Day
In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, a man uses a cell phone in New Orleans.   (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

The FCC has ordered US phone companies to block millions of illegal robocalls advertising extended vehicle warranties, which were the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC in each of the past two years, per CNN. More than 8 billion robocalls to US consumers since 2018 have claimed a consumer's warranty or insurance is about to expire. The calls, which often cite accurate information to appear legitimate, "may be seeking consumers' personal or financial information in order to defraud them, hoping to initiate a payment, and/or garnering information about active phones," according to the FCC.

They've been tied to 13 individuals and six companies predominantly based in Texas and California, CNN reports. In 2020, the group allegedly purchased access to almost half a million phone numbers from more than 200 area codes, which were used to convince recipients that the calls were coming from local numbers. "Consumers are out of patience and I'm right there with them," says FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. "We are not going to tolerate robocall scammers or those that help make their scams possible." US phone companies must now "take all necessary steps to avoid carrying this robocall traffic" or issue regular reports on what they're doing to mitigate the traffic, according to a release.

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau "will closely monitor voice service providers' compliance with this order and take appropriate enforcement action as necessary," adds Acting FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan Egal. The bureau continues to investigate the scam, which is subject of a lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Earlier this month, Yost announced the lawsuit against 22 defendants—including Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, and Stacey Yim, all of California—alleging they were responsible for at times more than 77 million robocalls per day, per Yahoo. Cox and Jones were previously sued by the FTC for similar practices, the outlet reports. (More robocalls stories.)

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