FCC Slams $120 Million Fine Over Robocalling Charge
The FCC announced the penalty during its monthly open meeting on Thursday, May 10. The fine was proposed in June 2017 after Adrian Abramovich, of Miami, made 96 million robocalls over a duration of three months in 2016.
Abramovich allegedly made the calls in an attempt to trick consumers into purchasing "exclusive" vacation deals from renowned travel and hospitality companies such as Expedia, Tripadvisor, Hilton, and Marriott to name a few.
According to the agency, Abramovich is the mastermind behind one of the largest, and most dangerous, illegal robocalling campaigns that the commission has ever come across.
"Our decision sends a loud and clear message," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. "This FCC is an active cop on the beat and will throw the book at anyone who violates our spoofing and robocall rules and harms consumers."
Abramovich Denies Wrongdoing
Last month, Abramovich told a Senate panel that he was not the "kingpin of robocalling" and denied any wrongdoing. He claimed that he was engaging in legitimate business practices by offering real travel deals to consumers.
He declined to answer some of the questions that he was asked about the case, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Robocalls Rising In The US
An estimated 2.49 billion robocalls were reportedly made to consumers in the United States in October 2017, which translates to an estimated 80.5 million robocalls placed every day, and these numbers seem to be increasing every month.
YouMail, a company that blocks robocalls and tracks them, revealed that an estimated 3.4 billion robocalls to consumers were placed in the month of April in the United States, which is an all-time high.
FCC's War Against Robocalls
The $120 million fine is part of the commission's multifaceted effort to crack down on robocalls, which spurns more than 200,000 complaints to the FCC every year.
American consumers are "mad as hell" that they still get spam calls despite Congress' and the FCC's efforts to put an end to them, Pai said last year.
In November, the commission sanctioned a new set of rules and regulations to protect the masses from unwanted robocalls, allowing telephone carriers to block robocalls as potentially fraudulent when they come from specifc types of phone numbers.