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Robocallers, you’re out

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Most robocalls are prohibited by law, but scammers and dishonest people continue to send them. And even some legitimate companies violate peoples’ privacy rights with illegal robocalls. Today the FTC announced several victories in the fight against illegal robocalls.
 
In the first victory, the FTC announced that it stopped the operator of a series of sham charities called “Veterans of America.” That operator sent millions of robocalls to donors and collected more than half a million dollars illegally. The robocalls’ message claimed that the organization was a charity and donations were tax deductible. None of that was true. The FTC stopped him in his tracks, and now he can’t send or help others send robocalls anymore.
 
In the second victory, the FTC announced that three individual defendants in the case against Point Break Media agreed to a robocall ban, and a ban on helping others send robocalls. All of them were part of a scheme that sent false (and alarming) robocalls to small business owners to get their money.
 
Today’s announcement also includes a double victory in the NetDotSolutions case. Three defendants who provided the autodialers used to place billions of illegal robocalls are now banned from supplying autodialers to telemarketers. In fact, those defendants provided the autodialing technology used by robocallers in at least eight prior FTC cases. They also will pay $1.35 million.

And finally, yet importantly, the FTC got a fourth victory in the Higher Goals Marketing case, where seven defendants agreed to a telemarketing ban. These defendants operated a credit card debt-relief scheme, which they started just weeks after the FTC closed a similar operation in the Life Management Services case, and where several of the defendants had previously worked.
 
The FTC’s work against illegal robocalls continues, and you can help by letting us know when you get an illegal robocall: www.ftc.gov/complaint. Read this article to learn more, or visit ftc.gov/calls.

Comments

Why are companies allowed to use machines to dial into our homes? In my opinion this should be listed as a crime.
Perhaps it is time to prosecute these companies!

We receive robocalls a day from Nancy telling us we’ve been qualified by Medicare to receive medical braces and if we don’t take advantage of their offer we will be dropped by Medicare. We’ve blocked several of their phone numbers but new ones keep cropping Nancy is very persistent ! Do you think Medicare actually pays for braces ordered through this scam? Please STOP them. Do we have a jail large enough to house them all?

I have had twelve calls in three days from Affordable Healthcare using seven different phone numbers, how do we get them to stop,

I’m glad some of these scammers have been shut down...or at least inconvenienced. Hasn’t made a dent in the unsolicited calls coming to my cell phone though. I just keep do not disturb on 24/7 to avoid the deluge of scams. Any legitimate callers know to leave a message and I’ll call them.

It's about time! The law needs more teeth either that or dentures!

Caller ID is a very useful tool. On my own phones if the caller isn't identified, I don't pick up with their voicemails all ignored and deleted. The power is on our side, and not their's. As long as you answer scammers have verified they've got a live one on the other end of the line. Further, for years several phone companies such as Verizon, Time Warner/Spectrum, AT&T, T-Mobile and others have been selling user personal info to telemarketers with no validating system in place to weed out scammers. No sooner do I have a new cell phone carrier or landline in place that I get numerous robocalls and intrusive bogus telemarketers. Web-based email providers such as AOL and Google do the same not to mention magazine subscriptions and social gatherings such as Facebook et al. A swamp of indiscretion, these hustlers count on anyone's eagerness to give them their identities and personal info.

There are also fake charities who send out 'clothing donation' bags with a pleading letter for clothing donations and instructions to leave your donated clothes on your front porch for their pick-up. Several times I've tried to inquire of their validity with no response whatsoever from any of them. The more popular is some charity claiming to be from a lupus foundation and veterans group not to mention children and women's shelters tearfully begging for not only your clothing but household appliances and cars. It would be wise to check them out first before donating since it's been long suspected these so-called 'charity' groups sell your unwanted clothes and goods on online marketplaces, garage sales, and flea markets.

i also get the healthcare calls, at least 20 or more a day. I did answer yesterday and pressed the do not call 3 at the end . It still has not stopped, It is a different phone number everytime. This is plain harassment. The not answering has not worked at all. Who can afford to block all those numbers? A new one every 5 minutes. Something needs to be done. Thank you

$1.35M is peanuts compared to billions of calls. That guy is laughing all the way to the bank and he paid off the FTC as a cost to do business.
Let’s talk jail for the cost to people’s and business’ time! That would worth writing about!

This is wonderful news for all! I have recently started seeing something new and wondering why. I get phone calls from my
normal ins or prescription plans and they are marked as spam or telemarketer but they are NOT they are my companies I deal with. Why would this happen? Just Started recently and they are not blocked on my phone???

Thanks for trying, but every time I block a number or I enter a number to report a robocaller on your website, it seems that the calls multiply. Medical insurance, warranty calls, etc. I sometimes get up to 6 calls a day -- on my cell and home numbers. Extremely frustrating especially when you're in the middle of a conference call. I never answer the calls and they usually leave a voice mail.

While the venal nature of these thieves is clear, e.g. lying about helping veterans, what remains stunning is the victim profile. As a word of caution, is there an especially vulnerable population that needs protection?

What remains astonishing is the technical quality of these criminal deceptions. The voice quality is becoming crystal clear with folksy use of the target's first name and the obligatory faux friendly greeting. Far from 'blaming the victim', these calls are not the old fashioned 'boiler room' operations of old.

For whatever it may be worth, the FTC is in the unenviable position of trying to catch thieves who depend on the victim's vulnerability, and there little more the FTC can do except perhaps providing the characteristics of the most likely targets.

Sadly, the household telephone has become another minefield for the unscrupulous, but, as always, the only real defense is hanging-up. Don't talk, don't engage and say nothing, just hang up. You'll save plenty of time and grief. Thanks again to the FTC.

My latest and I am lucky I already heard of the scam is the BLOCKED MEDICARE CARD SCAM. Seniors have been issued new cards this year so the field is ripe for the elderly and frightened. Keep posting the existing warnings.

FTC should end ALL robo calls, and if you are registered on the do Not Call system, the fine for a call should so enormous that it puts the company out of business - after YEARS of these robo calls it is time to end this business - and start on junk mail senders

Makes no sense to pay for a phone that is always on mute! The ringer on my landline and my cell is on mute. If a caller is not on my contacts I simply don’t answer! I mostly text with friends & family. But even with that, it’s so frustrating having all of the scam calls burning up the phone! Scammers should be forced to pay people’s phone bills as their punishment!
Thank you for trying to put an end to all the annoyment this causes. I just don’t see it happening anytime soon!

Was there any jail time for the guilty parties and restitution for the victims?

I get around 10 to 12 calls every.single.day!! It is SO annoying!!! I feel helpless. Time will tell if this latest victory helps in my case.

They got these guys! Unfortunately, there will be more to fill the vacancy tomorrow. Unless the book gets thrown at them hard. Frozen Assets and a measly 1.3 million dollar settlement doesn't slice the cheese for as much time money and sleep people have missed die to their shenanigans.

I hope there is a way to stop the scammers to call. I received a video mail from a party who left a message asking me to give them my last 4 SSN otherwise Id be arrested with a warrant. I am deaf and I find it appalling to get this kind of a message. No wonder there s a distrust in this society these days! Please stop the scammers targeting the deaf community!

No jail simply means they will start over again.

How do U block a number? The one I hate most of all is the
One that says only “ incoming call” and rings 2-4 times and stops. Just enough time to cause you to have to prepare to answer such as getting the dough off your hands, etc. Today I received two of these about 20 minutes apart. Does any one know what these are designed to accomplish for the caller?It is totally impossible to have an after lunch nap unless I disable my phone. I am angry that I am paying for an instrument that these awful people abuse.

I recently went to a "white list" on my home phone, and I could not be happier. It has to be the best simple decision that I have ever made. Now, when my phone rings, I just pick it up, since I KNOW it is someone that I WANT to speak with. To H**l with the rest of them!
Likewise, on my cell, I have the app, "Should I Answer" set to only allow voicemail to calls not in my contacts list. If I get a business call from an area code that I recognize, I simply call that number back. If it is a legit call, the person answers.
I'm super happy that the FTC is cracking down, but for me, I have my phones set to how I want them now, and I am pretty happy and much less aggravated.

I have voice caller ID and I don't know how they do it, I don't answer if it's someone I don't know. But they figured out a way around that. The caller ID come s up with my husbands name and my house phone number. I laugh sometimes and say to my husband, hey Alan you're calling yourself. Even thoe it really isn't funny. And the same spam keeps calling with local numbers from places I know of in town. How do they get away with that. I am not a well person either, and me and my husband are both on disability and we just can't take it anymore.

This is great news. I hope this puts an end to it. The fines should be a lot stiffer and money should be paid to consumers for their pain and suffering not just to the fed. Days Weeks Months of unsolicited calls unbearable at times. I never needed a full body brace and I hope to God I never need one or anyone in my family for that matter. Some how that message was never clear to the agent do not call thank you. Once this is covered the FTC should start on the Internet Robo Call called "Spam" Even when unsubscribing to something you never subscribe to its still a pain and infectious and cuts into day to day activity.

The next issue is the cash advance calls. They need to be shutdown as well. Oh, and the knee or back brace calls.

I received up to 30 calls a day which prevent me from accepting calls from people who aren't scammers.

Thank you so much! Keep up the good work!

Your phone ring u answer no one is there just the sound of someone hanging up of course if u are curious who is this? Why are u calling are the question u ask as u star 69 them. They may called first ,but u called them , what laws have they broken. Yes they initiated the call , u return the call giving them permission to promote their cause. I call this reverse phonecolgy.

They blow up my cell phone all day. I hooe they are stopped.

Have I missed something because what little info the FTC shared; No one was jailed, one firm was fined by a slap on the wrist to a paltry $1.35 m (considering what that outfit made was likely still a bargain buy out), and of the four disciplined, just how soon will they set up shop down the street and resume their parasitic ways? I find little to celebrate w FTC’s “big win!”

Bravo and thank you!

What good are agreements? They will just break them anyway.

Keep up the great work FTC on both robocalls and relentless scamming calls. It is so satisfying to see a Federal Agency helping citizens individually.

Start putting the robocall owners in Federal prison.

Thank you FTC. No calls today! Now I can't talk trash to the scammers. LOL.

Thank you for keep us updated. I appreciate all your warnings.

Since I read this article I have received to robo calls within 5 minutes. Is it possible to report the numbers any where. I don’t answer my phone anymore if I don’t recognize the number.

Are political robocalls still allowed at the federal level? What about political text messages to cell phones?

Thank you so much. I get these calls almost every day. I no longer answer my phone. 98% of them are spam calls.

I have noticed a BIG decrease in robocalls on my cell phone. Thanks for fighting for the consumer. You do awesome work in protecting our privacy!

Good work. However, I don't get it how these scammers are able to call from a seemingly valid US number. Can't there be a simple check that a caller actually owns the "from" number that is on caller id? My simple mind is thinking - If I get a call from a number, I should be able to report it and someone should be able to track the owner of that number. Shutting down these scammer companies doesn't seem to be right long-term solution.

Phone numbers are very much like email addresses, one can own 100s of them for literally pennies a month, heck, one could even SPOOF them (create fake ones) which is supposed to be highly illegal, yet once in a while I get calls from my own number... go figure.

I appreciate the FTC's efforts but after years of an onslaught of robocalls, I pay for a landline that I cannot even use anymore. I have trained people to only call me on my cell. The robocalls are to blame. If the FTC could turn its attention to the cable providers and get rid of the bundling, I could unbundle my unused landline from my bill. This robocall thing has really had a trickle down affect.

I appreciate the efforts that are being made to stop robo-calls. I have found that as long as the "caller" is spooling the numbers, I cannot report the calls. I have tried several times. The only relief I have found is moving and changing my phone number. And now I am receiving robo-calls on my cell phone. Just today I received one about "my credit card" that I do not own. I hang up, but it still cost me in used minutes on my time. I guess we can thank Congress for allowing our cell phones to now be subject to these annoying and wasteful call.

What are the robocalls that don't answer or the phone beeps three times. Is that putting our number on a list when we say hello?

I have blocked hundreds of different robocall phone numbers on my phone. I'm getting tired.

When you introduce felony convictions and lengthy prison time instead of fines and bans for these fools, then you have lasting victories and proper deterrent, otherwise, all this is an unwinnable war, kind of like a lot of other wars our governments have been engaged in for years or decades. It is just a fruitless struggle and a waste of resources for the outcomes it generates, for per each stopped operation by FTC, there are 100 thriving and well to do robocallers out there who violate our rights with impunity using foreign countries, foreign agents, and foreign assets. We need a wall around the country, but in this sense... a wall that can start costing a lot of money for outsiders to try calling us from overseas with spam calls. Or a felony level crime and conviction for robocallers calling numbers on donotcall list.

The car warranty bs is a joke of jokes. I haven't driven for several years. Each time, I look up the offending number. Car in question is never one I drove, and isn't the same vehicle twice. Why do they do this? Stupid. They should just perish.

Getting non-stop robocalls from Laura that says we have been granted a limited enrollment. For Cigna Health Net and Blue Cross PPO insurances. They keep changing numbers. I must have blocked 15 of them but nothing is working to stop the calls. Help!!!

I started saving these numbers in hopes that if I say it come in I would know it was a robo call. However, they rarely use the same number twice. I know the 9 (Do not Call) is BS so I tried to talk to the person. They didn't expect that I think and hung up. This leads me to believe that somehow they can collect info off your smart phone. I'm OLD school and have an old flip phone, nothing they can get from me except phone numbers.

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