Two FCC officials have sent a letter to voice providers that have been reluctant to participate in efforts to trace scam robocalls that pass through or originate on their networks. It’s the latest in a string of FCC robocall enforcement efforts.
The letters came from Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold and Chief Technology Officer Eric Burger. Harold commented that it harms all when providers don’t cooperate with “traceback” efforts.
Burger wrote that efforts must be stepped up. “The industry is helping combat illegal robocalls and spoofing, but more must be done,” said Dr. Burger about the letters. “We hope all carriers and interconnected VoIP providers will join these traceback efforts and implement tools to speed the traceback process, such as deploying a robust call authentication framework. In my experience, strong enforcement is the best tool against bad actors, and improved traceback is a critical tool for finding scammers.” His comments were included in the FCC press release.
The FCC also thanked USTelecom for its efforts to help with traceback, which include formation about two years ago of a group to share information aimed at identifying illegal calls to their original provider.
FCC Robocall Enforcement
In May, the FCC levied a fine of $120 million, the most ever, to Adrian Abramovich for malicious spoofing related to a robocall scheme. The fine originally was proposed in the summer of 2017 under The Truth in Caller ID Act. Abramovich was accused of being responsible for almost 100 million robocalls in a three month period. The scam focused on calls purporting to be from travel-related sites such as Marriott, Expedia, Hilton and TripAdvisor. People would be asked to press one for more information on exclusive vacation deals. The calls would instead be transferred to foreign call centers, where operators would try to sell them timeshares.