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FCC fines Robocall accused "Kingpin" record $ 120 million



  Why You Get More Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission has imposed a record fine on a Florida man accused of placing nearly 100 million robocalls.

The FCC said Thursday that Miami's Adrian Abramovich lost $ 1

20 million for threatening public safety with the "illegal" calls. The FCC said in a letter dated June 22, 2017, that the robocalls went to "critical emergency telephone lines" used by hospitals and medical service providers as well as cell phones and personal phones without the consent of the recipients.

"The evidence suggests that Abramovich is the perpetrator of one of the largest and most dangerous illegal robocalling campaigns the Commission has ever investigated," the FCC said in its complaint.

Robocalls are automated telemarketing calls that the FCC considers illegal, unless the recipient agrees to the call.

The complaint states that Abramovich made 96 million robotic calls during a "telemarketing program" in 2016 over a three-month period. In the 2017 complaint, he is accused of using "neighbor spoofing" to get people to answer calls by falsely presenting the calls as coming from a local number.

From Expedia [ EXPE ] Marriott ( MAR.

The Robocalls offered reduced travel services to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida at ) Hilton ( LDS ) and TripAdvisor ( TRIP ) lt The Complaint. The FCC said these "fake" calls have nothing to do with these companies and are considered phone fraudsters.

"Abramovich has tarnished the goodwill of these companies," said the FCC in the complaint. The fine on Abramovich was the largest ever imposed by the FCC.

A spokesman for TripAdvisor told CNNMoney that it was revealed in 2015 that some US consumers were receiving fake recorded phone calls "who claimed to be illegally affiliated with our brand" and the company had worked with the FCC to get it unstoppable.

"The list of brands falsified by these scammers goes far beyond TripAdvisor and reads like a Who's Who of famous airlines, hoteliers and online travel agents," TripAdvisor commented.

Related: FCC Cracks Robocalling

Abramovich, whose lawyer does not immediately return news from CNNMoney, has denied allegations of fraud.

The Senate Committee on Trade, Science and Transport called on Abramovich to testify last month in a hearing entitled "Abusive Robocalls and How We Can Stop Them".

"The extent of my activities has been greatly exaggerated," he said in his statement. "I'm not the mainstay of robocalling that's claimed."

He also claimed that the deals were genuine. "The resorts associated with my telemarketing activities were indeed true resorts offering real vacation packages," he said.

Last year, the FCC voted for new rules that would allow the phone companies to block Robocall Spoofing.

The FCC also said that the number one complaint it receives from consumers is about robocalls.

"But it still happens and we still get it," said Michael Inouye, analyst for ABI Research. "The laws do not seem very effective."

Related: Apple, Google, Microsoft make up Robocall's & # 39; strike force & # 39;

But Inouye said it could be possible to reduce robocalling, with proper coordination between the FCC and the communications companies.

Apple ( AAPL ) Google ( GOOG ) and Microsoft ( MSFT ) joined a "strike force" in 2016 to reduce robocalls on FCC orders.

"I do not know if it's possible to completely make it disappear, but you can definitely do things to reduce the number of calls you receive today," he said.

CNNMoney (New York) First published May 11, 2018: 2:27 pm ET


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