The FCC wants to fine a California couple $300 million for using billions of robocalls to try to scam Americans.
The penalty targets a robocall business that the FCC took back to Roy Cox, Jr. and Aaron Michael Jones, who allegedly used their company “Sumco Panama” to bombard US consumers with eight billion robocalls since at least 2018.
“Today’s proposed fine is the largest such action in FCC history, primarily because the FCC found that motorists met the agency’s criteria for flagrant violations,” the US regulator said.
According to the FCC, the robocall business pushed a scam that falsely claimed the consumer’s auto warranty(Opens in a new window) was about to expire. Automated calls will then offer an opportunity to speak to an expert about extending your warranty. But in reality, the robocalls were likely designed to trick people into handing over their personal information for fraudulent purposes or trick them into making a payment, the FCC said.
In July, the US regulator took action by forcing voice and telephony providers to block funneled calls from the robocall feature, which crippled the fraud’s call volume. On Wednesday, the FCC then voted to further penalize Cox and Jones for spearheading the scams, saying the robocalls violated federal anti-spoofing and robocall laws.
“We are proposing the largest forfeiture in our history—nearly $300 million—against the perpetrators of this complex scheme, which includes entities based in Hungary and Panama,” said FCC Chair Jessica Roscenworcel.
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However, the fine is not yet final. Cox and Jones will have an opportunity to respond and challenge the proposed sentence, along with the evidence to support it. The previous record holder for the largest FCC fine appears to be a $225 million penalty, also levied against a robocall business, but in Texas.
To further address the issue, the FCC has also opened a new online portal(Opens in a new window), where private companies and individuals can notify the US regulator about suspicious robocalls. “This new tool will help us support companies and businesses that see their phone lines clogged with robocalls or their valuable and hard-earned brand awareness undermined by fraudsters spoofing their numbers,” said the head of the Enforcement Bureau. of the FCC, Loyaan Egal in a statement.
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