The Federal Communications Commission levied a record fine of $225 million on two Texas-based telemarketing companies for ‘spoofed’ robocalls, the agency said Wednesday.
Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom were slapped with the fine after placing close to one billion robocalls in 2019 to falsely sell short-term health insurance plans.
“John C. Spiller and Jakob A. Mears, who used business names including Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom, transmitted the spoofed robocalls across the country during the first four-and-a-half months of 2019,” says a statement issued by the FCC.
“Mr. Spiller admitted to the USTelecom Industry Traceback Group that he made millions of spoofed calls per day and knowingly called consumers on the Do Not Call list as he believed that it was more profitable to target these consumers.”
According to an anti-spam app, Robokiller, spam calls have risen 26 percent over the last year.
The FCC also announced Wednesday that it will be allocating 51 employees to form a “Robocall Response Team” in response to the increased robocalls. The DOJ, FTC and state attorney generals have also been asked to help out with the issue.
Cease and desist letters have been sent to all companies who have violated the FCC rules or who the FCC thinks have violated.
“Today’s cease and desist letters should serve as a warning sign to other entities that believe the FCC has turned a blind eye to this issue. We certainly haven’t and we’re coming for you,” Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.
The FCC has issued over $450 million in fines in recent years.
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