In a letter threatening legal action, the Federal Trade Commission warned 19 operators of its IP-based phone service not to assist automated callers to make robot calls. The letter is the latest move by the U.S. government, which means it has stepped up efforts to block robot phones.
The Federal Trade Commission did not specify which Internet phone (VoIP) phone companies it targeted, but said they may have a responsibility to assist any robocaller customers engaged in illegal activities designed to deceive consumers. The Federal Trade Commission has singled out cases where spoofing phone numbers, calling a number other than the recipient’s own approved number library, impersonating a government agency, or broadcasting pre-recorded telemarketing messages around.
Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, said: “VoIP service providers play a unique role in the robocall ecosystem, enabling fraudsters and marketers who abuse phones to spend as little as a penny per minute. These warnings are the messenger VoIP vendor’s notice that we will take action when they knowingly assist illegal robocall. ”
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says it can seek civil penalties and court injunctions to stop companies from violating its anti-fraudulent phone sales rules. The agency also said consumers who have been scammed because of illegal robot phones could seek refunds and even compensation.
The Ministry of Justice yesterday launched its first cyber complaint against operators and filed “two major lawsuits” in court on Tuesday. According to YouMail, robots in the U.S. made 58.5 billion automated phone calls in 2019. On December 5 last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to block automatic calls, and the Senate passed it later that month.