For the first time, the U.S. government has filed a lawsuit against alleged perpetrators of robocalls, seeking restraining orders to stop them from facilitating more fraudulent phone calls.
The lawsuit and temporary restraining orders were against five companies that were accused of helping facilitate hundreds of millions of illegal robocalls every month, according to prosecutors. One of the companies is alleged to have made 720 million robocalls during a 23-day period. In most cases, prosecutors allege that the robocallers were spoofing phone numbers to trick people into picking up the phone.
This marked the first time that the Justice Department was taking action against what it labeled as “U.S.-based enablers” after the companies failed to heed several warnings about their activities.
The court orders “should stop hundreds of millions of predatory robocalls,” Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt told reporters, adding that the action should “serve as a warning to other telecom providers.”
The five companies and three individuals who were sued by the government in two separate cases are responsible for scamming elderly Americans, who suffered “massive financial losses,” according to prosecutors. The companies named in the lawsuit were Tollfreedeals.com, Global Voicecom Inc., Global Telecommunication Services Inc and KAT Telecom Inc.
The defendants are accused of operating Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) operations, which were used by “numerous” foreign-based criminal operations to make fraudulent government- and business-imposter calls. The defendants acted as “gateway carriers,” according to prosecutors, making them the entry point into the U.S. for foreign crime syndicates.
“We are using all available tools and resources to stop foreign call center scammers — and for the first time their U.S.-based enablers — from conning elderly and vulnerable victims in New York and throughout the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “Protecting individuals from schemes that result in catastrophic losses to the victims is a priority of this Office and the Department of Justice.”
Copies of the complaints can be accessed by clicking here.