The Federal Communications Commission yesterday imposed a penalty of $300 million against the perpetrators of an illegal “auto warranty” robocall scam that purportedly made more than 5 billion robocalls to 500 million phone numbers during a three-month period of 2021. The fine is the largest ever assessed by the FCC and speaks to the size and scope of the underlying activities that were being called out.
A copy of the enforcement action can be accessed by clicking here.
The two men behind the calls — Roy Cox, Jr. and Michael Aaron Jones — have been banned from any form of telemarketing since 2013 and 2017 respectively. The FCC had previously instructed carriers to stop allowing for traffic from the companies involved in the enterprise — Sumco Panama, Virtual Telecom, Davis Telecom, Geist Telecom, Fugle Telecom, Tech Direct, Mobi Telecom, and Posting Express.
The companies were accused of sending pre-recorded calls to mobile phones without first obtaining the proper consent to do so, placing telemarketing calls without consent, dialing individuals who had placed their phone numbers on the Do Not Call registry, failing to identify themselves at the start of conversations, refusing to provide call-back numbers to allow individuals to opt out of future conversations, and using misleading Caller IDs to disguise who was calling.
By ordering carriers to stop accepting traffic from these companies, the number of auto warranty calls dropped by 99%, according to the FCC.
The FCC will hand the case over to the Department of Justice to now try and collect the $300 million.
“We take seriously our responsibility to protect consumers and the integrity of U.S. communications networks from the onslaught of these types of pernicious calls,” said the FCC’s Loyaan A. Egal.