Robocaller King May Face $120 Million FCC Fine for Spoofed Calls

A Miami man alleged to have made 96 million spoofed robocalls last year could face a fine of $120 million from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The commission said yesterday it had verified 80,000 of those spoofed calls and based its proposed fine on that number.

According to a notice released yesterday by the FCC, Adrian Abramovich "is apparently liable for perpetrating one of the largest spoofed robocall campaigns that the Commission has ever investigated."

Automated Calls Are Top Complaint

The calls, reportedly made from Oct. 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2016, appeared to show as local on victims' caller IDs, with numbers that matched recipients' area codes and the first three digits of their phone numbers. Recipients who answered would hear an automated message prompting them to press 1 to hear details about "exclusive" vacation deals from familiar-sounding travel and hotel companies. However, they were instead transferred to overseas call centers marketing timeshares and other vacation packages, the FCC said.

Last month, more than 2.6 billion robocalls were made to people across the U.S., according to the cloud-based telecom service YouMail, which publishes a monthly index of automated calls. At an average of 8.1 calls per person, those contacts were most frequently attributed to debt collectors.

Robocalls are "consistently the top-ranked category of complaints that consumers bring to the agency," FCC chairman Ajit Pai said In a statement released with yesterday's announcement. The FCC also regulates such calls and has filed more than 100 lawsuits against individuals and companies accused of robocalling and other "Do Not Call" violations.

"Neighbor spoofing," the type of calls Abramovich is accused of making, involve automated calling that falsifies the information appearing on recipients' caller IDs. By looking as if they come from a local caller, such calls are more likely to gain people's...

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