Pair that made 1 billion fraudulent calls fined $ 225 million


The Federal Communications Commission imposed its biggest fine of $ 225 million on telemarketers in Texas who sent around $ 1 billion. automated calls falsely claiming to sell health insurance for Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other companies.

John Spiller and Jakob Mears, who did business as Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom, were fined, proposed in June 2020 by the FCC, for massive spam from fraudulent robocalls in the United States in 2019. Fraudulent calls have a fake caller ID that makes them appear to be from a nearby location.

Consumers would be asked if they were interested in “affordable health insurance with the benefits of a company you know?” and companies like Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and United HealthCare were mentioned.

If they pressed 3 for an agent, the consumer would be transferred to a call center not affiliated with one of those insurers. One of the robocallers’ biggest clients, Health Advisors of America, was sued in 2019 by the Missouri attorney general for telemarketing violations, according to the FCC.

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Spiller told the USTelecom Industry Traceback Group, a group authorized by the FCC to investigate robocalls, that he knowingly called consumers on the Do Not Call list, according to the FCC. He told the group that his company makes millions of calls a day and uses spoofed numbers, the FCC said in his beautiful original proposal.

In addition to enforcing the agency’s largest fine ever, the FCC has also issued several cease and desist orders against other robocallers and established a robotic call response team. .

“Unwanted robocalls are not only a nuisance, but they also pose a serious risk to consumers who may inadvertently share sensitive personal information in response to malicious ploys by malicious actors,” said the Acting President of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel, in a statement. I’m proud to unveil my first round of action to put a renewed focus on what the FCC can do to tackle the issue we receive the most complaints about. “

The prohibition and disclaimer letters were sent to six companies responsible for making or facilitating robocalls:

  • RSCom of Canada, which was warned in May 2020 to stop making fraudulent calls involving COVID-19, Social Security, Internal Revenue Service, electric utilities and Apple Inc.
  • Stratics Networks of Canada for facilitating fraudulent calls about COVID-19, student loans, political campaigns, discounts and upgrades for AT&T and DirecTV.
  • Yodel Technologies, a Florida provider, to facilitate fraudulent calls related to social security, health insurance and debt reduction services.
  • Icon Global, a UK-based company, for facilitating the robocalls that flooded the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department, as well as those falsely representing Apple and the Social Security Administration.
  • IDT Corporation of New Jersey, for making illegal robocalls on behalf of clients regarding COVID-19 and health insurance, social security, Amazon bogus reimbursements, IT services, credit cards and fraudulent calls threatening to disconnect utilities without payment.
  • Third Rock Telecom of Canada, which is suspected of transmitting robocalls regarding fictitious Apple / iCloud account breaches, Social Security scams and credit card fraud.

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A new Robocall Response Team, a group of 51 FCC personnel, will coordinate the robocall response efforts. Rosenworcel has also sent letters to the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the National Association of State Attorneys General regarding anti-robocall collaboration efforts.

“Today’s cease and desist letters should serve as a warning signal to other entities who believe the FCC has turned a blind eye to this issue,” Rosenworcel said. “We certainly didn’t and we’re coming for you.”

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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