The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today took actions against marketers who were attempting to scam consumers through spoofed calls. Two companies will pay FCC spoofing fines totaling more than $119 million.
Affordable Enterprises of Arizona
The FCC recommended a fine of at least $37.5 million against Affordable Enterprises of Arizona for allegedly making spoofed telemarketing calls that appeared to originate from consumers and from other phone numbers not assigned to the company, an illegal action under FCC rules, specifically the Truth in Caller ID Act.
According to the FCC complaint, Affordable Enterprises of Arizona made more than 2.3 million of these calls to Arizona residents starting in 2016, with offers of home improvement services. The complaint added that at least one resident received at least five of these calls each day.
Health Insurance Marketer
In a separate action, the FCC fined telemarketer Philip Roesel and his companies more than $82 million for making more than 21 million robocalls to market health insurance.
According to the complaint, originally filed in the summer of 2017, Roesel and his companies spoofed phone numbers, illegally hiding the identities that his companies were actually making the calls.
Roesel countered the complaint, saying there was no intent to harm. The FCC determined that evidence was lacking to support his claims.
The FCC spoofing fines are an indication of the resources the commission has focused on spoofing in the last few years. The problem has grown as technological advances have made it easier and less expensive for robo callers to manipulate caller ID information and to place calls using this data.
The FCC has also approved rules enabling phone companies to proactively block calls that are likely to be fraudulent as well as establishing a more reliable caller identification to more accurately identify the party placing the call.