US FCC fines phone spammers $225 million

In the U.S., the highest fine to date was imposed by the U.S. regulatory authority FCC. The reason for the fine is one billion calls to citizens in just five months, and now those responsible are to pay 225 million US dollars.

One billion calls

In 2019, two phone spammers from Texas had made one billion automated spam calls in less than five months. With this, these wanted to convey health insurance to citizens. Such calls are in principle first of all not illegal in the USA. The problem with the whole action was that the two spammers gave false sender numbers. They could not be reached at all under these telephone numbers, and that in turn is illegal. Therefore, the perpetrators are now to pay a fine of 225 million US dollars (about 189 million euros), Az. FCC 21-35. This is the highest fine so far according to the FCC.

The action of the perpetrators came out by complaints of the owners of the wrong telephone numbers, these received suddenly many calls of angry citizens. Apart from that, the perpetrators explicitly used phone numbers from the Do Not Call List. The Do Not Call List is, as it says, a list on which there are exclusively the phone numbers of people who do not wish to receive advertising calls and have objected to them. As if that were not enough, the two telephone spammers claimed to be calling on behalf of well-known insurance companies, to which there is or was no connection whatsoever.

Part of a large procedure

The penalty against the spammers and their clients could be much higher, as the U.S. regulator FCC can impose a fine of up to $11,766 per call with a spoofed phone number. The usual fine is 1,000 US dollars. In one exceptional case involving a telephone spam Nazi, even 2,000 US dollars per call were imposed. Due to the mass of calls, it was only possible for the authority to analyze a small part of the calls and prove that the phone numbers had been falsified; the authority only succeeded in doing this in 150,000 cases. With the proven cases the authority already comes to 150 million US dollar fine, in addition a surcharge of 50 percent, since the spammers called deliberately persons from the Do Not Call List. This is how it arrives at such a high fine, but whether it can be collected is still unclear. One of the clients of the spammers is the company Health Advisors of America, which has to answer for its actions in Missouri, since people from the Do Not Call List were also called here.

The case against the two phone spammers and their principals is part of a U.S.-wide campaign against phone spam. In 2019, 45 authorities have initiated about 90 cases against individuals and also companies. Some fines will still be levied here, as long as the evidence is possible.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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