Two phone spammers in Texas are said to have fined 225 million US dollars. In less than five months in 2019, they had made a billion automated spam calls selling short-term health insurance. Robocall campaigns of this kind are not generally prohibited in the USA. However, the perpetrators are said to have often transmitted fake sender numbers under which they could not be reached. It’s illegal.
Therefore the FCC has now imposed the penalty (Ref. FCC 21-35). According to Specification of the authority it is the highest punishment she has ever imposed. The phone number forgery was apparently exposed because the real owner of one of the misused phone numbers complained. Numerous callbacks from angry citizens were received on his number.
Avalanche calls overwhelmed the authorities
To make matters worse, the spammers deliberately and primarily called numbers that were on the Do Not Call List stand. This list contains telephone numbers that telephone sellers are not allowed to call because the number owner has forbidden. It is precisely from these people that the spammers claim to have ripped off a particularly large amount of money. In addition, the spammers are said to have pretended to call on behalf of well-known insurance companies that had nothing to do with it.
The agency can impose a fine of up to US $ 11,766 per call to a fake number. The usual penalty is $ 1,000. In view of the enormous flood of calls, the authority was only able to analyze a fraction, namely 150,000 calls, and prove the number forgery. From this, the authority calculates a fine of 150 million dollars. Due to the deliberate calls to numbers on the Do Not Call List, the FCC charges a premium of 50 percent – makes 225 million dollars (the equivalent of 189 million euros).
It is not known whether this amount can be collected. One of the clients of the spammers was a company called Health Advisors of America. She has to answer in Missouri because the spammers also dialed numbers that are on the No-Call State of Missouri Registered List. The trials are part of a US-wide government campaign against phone spam. In 2019, 45 authorities initiated around 90 proceedings against a range of companies and individuals.