'Spoofing' Robocaller Fined $120M by FCC

It's the commission's biggest-ever fine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2018 5:39 AM CDT
Updated May 11, 2018 6:27 AM CDT
FCC Slaps Robocaller With Its Biggest-Ever Fine
In this Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, photo, Jen Vargas shows the data of a recent robocall on her home phone in Orlando, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Federal Communications Commission has slapped a notorious robocaller with a fine that works out to around $1.24—for each of roughly 97 million calls made over three months toward the end of 2016. The $120 million fine finalized against Adrian Abramovich Thursday is the biggest in FCC history, exceeding the $95 million another robocalling operation was fined last year, CBS reports. The FCC says Abramovich's operation illegally used "spoofing"—faking the first few digits of caller ID so the person answering would think it was a local call. The calls also purported to be from major companies like Expedia or Hilton, but when people pressed '1' to receive travel offers from the companies, they were transferred to a live operator trying to sell timeshare interests in Mexico.

Abramovich argued in Senate testimony that he wasn't the "kingpin" of robocalling he was portrayed as, but the FCC says he ran one of the largest illegal robocalling operations it had ever encountered, the Washington Post reports. The Florida resident "didn't just have the intent to defraud or cause harm. He actually caused harm," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "Just ask his victims—a number of whom are elderly—who were duped into purchasing travel deals under false pretenses." Pai promised that the commission would continue its fight against robocalls. "This FCC is an active cop on the beat and will throw the book at anyone who violates our spoofing and robocall rules and harms consumers," he said. (Read more Federal Communications Commission stories.)

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