The Federal Communications Commission has proposed fining a company $37.5 million for making 2.3 million spoofed telemarketing calls during a 14-month period that started in 2016 . What’s notable about the fine is that the FCC says this is the first time it has taken an enforcement action against a company for spoofing, where a company manipulates the caller ID information to make it look like the calls are coming from someone or somewhere other than who is placing the calls. Anyone who has received a phone call from a number very similar to their own only to have it be a recording will know exactly what this is.
Affordable Enterprises of Arizona, the company charged with making the calls, will have the opportunity to respond to the proposed fine and the FCC will take that information into consideration before levying a final penalty. One woman received five calls per day from individuals who were calling to complain about calls they received that purportedly came from her number, which was being used by the company who had commandeered her number.
A former employee of the company reported the campaign to the FCC. The company is being accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and anti-spoofing rules, such as those included in the Truth in Caller ID Act.
The company name was registered in Arizona one month before the calling campaign began, according to a published report.
The FCC also announced yesterday that it had assessed an $82 million fine for an individual who made more than 21 million robocalls. Philip Roesel was accused of making robocalls and spoofing the caller ID to market health insurance products.
Spoofing the calls made it difficult for consumers to file complaints and for law enforcement to identify and track the calls, according to the FCC.