Robocall Firm Is Facing a $37.5 Million Fine from FCC for Spoofing Consumer Numbers

cageymaru

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The FCC has proposed leveraging a $37.5 million fine against Affordable Enterprises of Arizona for making 2.3 million illegally-spoofed telemarketing annoyance calls from numbers belonging to other consumers not affiliated with the company. This is the very first time that the FCC has been able to catch a company that commandeered numbers to make nuisance calls against Americans. A former employee was the whistleblower who contacted the FCC's Enforcement Bureau with information instrumental in bringing charges against the firm.

After cross-referencing consumer complaints lodged on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry against the subpoenaed phone records of the company, the FCC was able to ascertain that Affordable Enterprises used the aliases Affordable Kitchens and Affordable Windows as a telemarketing platform to connect sales reps to consumers for the purpose of marketing home improvement services. Even though many of the affected consumers had added their numbers to the Do Not Call Registry, the company persisted with the marketing calls which violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Illegal spoofing occurs when a caller maliciously falsifies the information transmitted to a consumer's caller ID display. The Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongly obtain anything of value. More information on spoofing rules is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/spoofing
 

drescherjm

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My wife would like them (well maybe not this company but spoofers in general) to stop calling here darn mobile phone with numbers that look very much like her number. However that is a dead give away since she knows no one with a similar #.
 

Grimlaking

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I love this. And if it passes this can be a lucrative revenue stream for the fcc. Too bad many are so damn hard to track. THAT needs to be built in.
 
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drescherjm

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Who gets the money? Not the harassed I bet.
I expect the government then the lawyers. Then if there is anything left over the harassed may get their share of some really small amount when divided by the number of recipients is not worth sending since its less than the postage..
 

BSmith

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1 down, 24,000 more to go!

It is so bad, my Wife changes her phone number once every 3 months or so, so she can get work done. She keeps filling up her block lists to.

Don't ask me who she is giving her number to that is causing this. I have no idea. I know she knows diddly squat about trying to be secure with her information.

She should not the problem.
 

raz-0

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Who gets the money? Not the harassed I bet.

I think some prison time would be more fitting.
Dude I don't care if I get a dime. I'd love to make the seizure laws for robocalling fuckers as messed up as that for RICO bullshit and drug raps. Incentivize the local or federal police going down there and stealing all their shit. They are the fucking herpes of the communication age.
 

oneshort

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I love to here this, not only do I get the calls on my cell but then I get calls from other people yelling at me to stop calling them.
 

oROEchimaru

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awesome! anyone else feel like he looks like a robot or a 3d model from fallout 4? lol
 

Lateralus

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I love to here this, not only do I get the calls on my cell but then I get calls from other people yelling at me to stop calling them.
This happened to a guy I work with. His number was being used in the spoofing and he was getting angry calls every few minutes from people yelling "I DO NOT WANT TO REFINANCE MY STUDENT LOANS, I DON'T EVEN HAVE STUDENT LOANS, STOP CALLING ME!!" It was so bad I had to change his extension so that he could get some work done without the phone constantly ringing.
 

Cyraxx

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I love this. And if it passes this can be a lucrative revenue stream for the fcc. Too bad many are so damn hard to track. THAT needs to be built in.
So since this came from a whistle-blower - That is EXACTLY what we need.

The FCC just needs to publicly announce a new campaign - and anyone that can give a successful whistle-blow is entitled to - say - 5% of the fine that is paid... So in this case roughly $1.75M.

You wanna take a guess at how many low-paying people will jump forward to quickly oust their company for that change?
 

sfsuphysics

I don't get it
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Whenever I get a phone number that has the same area code, and the same first three numbers as my number it just gets ignored. I guess they're trying to social engineer people to answer the phone, assuming that if it's similar to their number it must be someone near by?

That said, just fines? Fuck that, close the fuckers down, take all their equipment, shut them down as a company and leverage jail time against them if they ever fucking do anything like it again.
 

cyclone3d

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About time!

Now they need to take down all the other scum.. including bombing the fake IRS and Microsoft support call centers in India.
 

Fifliffl

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Thank god. There are so many spoofers using the outbound dialing number so it looks like the person is calling themselves. I worked tech support for landlines in arizona 10 years ago and would get soooo many calls about this
 

Lakados

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They won't pay and they don't have too, the FCC issues large fines all the time but they have 0 enforcement capabilities for that they have to rely on the Justice Department which is backlogged and requires a trial which stretches the process out years. During which time the company will declare bankruptcy, restructure, refinance, and relaunch as a new corporation under new management from a new person in the Cayman Islands, or Guam or some place like that. No fine will be paid and they will continue as normal with new employees who will be more tightly monitored.
 

HorseproofBacon

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Sounds like somebody robocalled a member of congress one too many times...

This is why I use an app on my phone that blocks ALL numbers not on my contact list. They can still leave messages (the ones where I'm about to be arrested are particularly amusing) but rarely do robocalls leave messages. It's very effective as I never even see the calls come through anymore.
 

SomeoneElse

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This crap happens to my wife all the time.....she gets calls from local phone numbers and they aren't the people who called her. She has also gotten calls back from people mad that she called when she didn't. I have never had this issue but my number is a NY number from when I was in the military (11 years ago) and I never answer calls from NY anyway.
But yea this garbage is out of control.
 
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Helps to have a number for an area code that you don't live in. If the caller's area code matches your phone and it's not in your address book, then you're out. They never leave a message. If the number is from the area code you live in, then it's kids school, dentist appointment, etc... very likely not to be a robocall.

Works great.
 

Grimlaking

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Sounds like somebody robocalled a member of congress one too many times...

This is why I use an app on my phone that blocks ALL numbers not on my contact list. They can still leave messages (the ones where I'm about to be arrested are particularly amusing) but rarely do robocalls leave messages. It's very effective as I never even see the calls come through anymore.
What app do you use? I have a app that is supposed to but it sucks.
 

TwiceOver

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What app do you use? I have a app that is supposed to but it sucks.
Should I Answer does this and works great! I just added to my VM message "I only answer messages from people in my call list, leave a message or I won't call you back". Right now though I'm doing some volunteer work that I get calls from people in the organization so I stepped it back a little. Should I Answer still prevents calls that have already been negatively rated, so it isn't AS bad.

I wanted my son to have a phone, but not if 99% of his calls were going to be spam. Should I Answer solved this problem.
 

HorseproofBacon

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Should I Answer does this and works great! I just added to my VM message "I only answer messages from people in my call list, leave a message or I won't call you back". Right now though I'm doing some volunteer work that I get calls from people in the organization so I stepped it back a little. Should I Answer still prevents calls that have already been negatively rated, so it isn't AS bad.

I wanted my son to have a phone, but not if 99% of his calls were going to be spam. Should I Answer solved this problem.

That is the app. "Should I answer". It's the only one that actually seems to work.
 

Cmdrmonkey

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Both my personal and work phones get hit constantly with these spoofed number robocalls. They usually use a local or nearby area code. It’s either blank or there is a recording trying to sell me something.

It’s obnoxious. It makes my phones less useful. I hope they nail the fuckers behind this shit to a cross and leave them to die of exposure.

It has gotten so bad that I just leave my personal iPhone on do not disturb mode 24/7 with it set to only let my contacts through. I can’t do that with my work phone.
 

sfsuphysics

I don't get it
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They won't pay and they don't have too, the FCC issues large fines all the time but they have 0 enforcement capabilities for that they have to rely on the Justice Department which is backlogged and requires a trial which stretches the process out years. During which time the company will declare bankruptcy, restructure, refinance, and relaunch as a new corporation under new management from a new person in the Cayman Islands, or Guam or some place like that. No fine will be paid and they will continue as normal with new employees who will be more tightly monitored.
This, minus the Cayman Islands bit because if the corporation goes down, that's the end of it the person running it is largely irrelevant. In my home town a Chinese aquarium store would always skip on paying taxes, and what not, and eventually when the local government finally started to dispense justice, they simply close up shop, declare bankruptcy, reopen under a new name in another part of town (or another city) with some random employee listed as the owner, then repeat.
 
D

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I never pick up unless it's family that I recognize from my contacts. Then I use Mr Number on top of that for android.

My voice mailbox message:

 
D

Deleted member 93354

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That is the app. "Should I answer". It's the only one that actually seems to work.
"Mr Number" too

But to be honest it wouldn't be that hard for the PHONE companies at the PBX to CHECK the callback number and see if the circuit leading to that phone is actually active. If it is NOT, then flag the incoming circuit and start a traceback. I really don't understand why this is so hard to fix.

But that would cut down on revenue for phone companies wouldn't it if there were no more robocalls?
 

Azphira

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The whistle blower should get paid a percentage of the fine, it would encourage more whistle blowing.
 

Dead Parrot

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This explains the orders from Hell for ice skates. The company owners should also have to serve a few years picking up litter along Arizona highways between the months of May and October.
 

Lakados

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This, minus the Cayman Islands bit because if the corporation goes down, that's the end of it the person running it is largely irrelevant. In my home town a Chinese aquarium store would always skip on paying taxes, and what not, and eventually when the local government finally started to dispense justice, they simply close up shop, declare bankruptcy, reopen under a new name in another part of town (or another city) with some random employee listed as the owner, then repeat.
A lot of these call centers aren't actually listed as being American companies, they are owned by numbered corporations out of some where, they then list their owners as a conglomerate of shell corporations and their CEO is a random individual that they cut a small check to each month for a few hundred dollars, they tend to be house keepers or single moms in countries the US doesn't have extradition treaties with. This way when things do go south the paper trail is thin at best and the person holding the bag doesn't know jack other than they were asked to do it by somebody that was staying at the hotel one time but they don't remember who and that they got a few hundred bucks a month for having their name on a piece of paper. Online universities, and other businesses with questionable business practices tend to do this too.
 

viscountalpha

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A lot of these call centers aren't actually listed as being American companies, they are owned by numbered corporations out of some where, they then list their owners as a conglomerate of shell corporations and their CEO is a random individual that they cut a small check to each month for a few hundred dollars, they tend to be house keepers or single moms in countries the US doesn't have extradition treaties with. This way when things do go south the paper trail is thin at best and the person holding the bag doesn't know jack other than they were asked to do it by somebody that was staying at the hotel one time but they don't remember who and that they got a few hundred bucks a month for having their name on a piece of paper. Online universities, and other businesses with questionable business practices tend to do this too.

How the hell is any of that legal, no wait I'll answer my own question. Money.
 

Dalexx

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Mar 22, 2014
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Don't ask me who she is giving her number to that is causing this. I have no idea. I know she knows diddly squat about trying to be secure with her information.
I pretty much kept my cell number under lock and key for years, but eventually I put it somewhere and all of a sudden I started getting calls from myself. I'm almost positive ATT just sold it outright, but since they started happening after I cut my landline, I'll have to blame my cable company, or electric company or maybe insurance company. It one of the utility companies I care about, all the ones I don't care about I left my old disconnected number with them
 

Oldmodder

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Aug 24, 2018
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So glad this pooo are not allowed here, i get insane,,,, well even more insane if my phone ring more than 2 times a day.
It have taken me a long time to teach the 10 people that have my number to not call me with BS that can wait until we meet, but they finally got it now it seem.

PS. the phone i carry are not regged in my name, or attached to any card or bank account of mine.
 
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