Man accused of making millions of robocalls faces $120 million FCC fine

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WASHINGTON — A man suspected of making tens of millions of robocalls faces a $120 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission. It is the FCC’s largest fine ever.

According to USA Today, Adrian Abramovich used “neighborhood spoofing” technology that would make a local area code and the first three digits of the recipient’s phone number appear on caller ID.

The calls promised recipients vacation deals from national travel companies. However, anyone who answered was transferred to foreign call centers, whose employees tried to sell them unrelated travel packages.

Abramovich, who ran his operation out of Miami, is accused of making nearly 97 million robocalls in all.

90 percent of the calls were made to wireless phones, with the remaining 10 percent going to landlines, according to USA Today.

In a statement from the FCC, Chairman Ajit Pai said Abramovich did not dispute making the millions of calls, nor did he dispute that the calls were made with “inaccurate caller ID information.”

Moreover, Abramovich said he had no intent to defraud the public with his calls. Pai contested that statement.

“Mr. Abramovich didn’t just have the intent to defraud or cause harm. He actually caused harm. Just ask his victims—a number of whom are elderly—who were duped into purchasing travel deals under false pretenses. Or ask Spōk, a Virginia-based medical paging service whose emergency communications services were disrupted by a flood of robocalls attributed to Mr. Abramovich’s companies,” Pai said.

Pai added that the $120 million fine sends a message: “this FCC is an active cop on the beat and will through [sic] the book at anyone who violates our spoofing and robocall rules and harms consumers.”

Abramovich’s robocalls only make up a small fraction of those regularly received by Americans; 3.4 billion were made in April, up 30 percent from last year.

Click here to learn more about how people use recipients’ numbers to make robocalls.

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