Tue, 07/02/2019 - 15:32
On July 25th, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with its state and federal partners, announced a major crackdown on illegal robocalls. The program, called Operation Call It Quits, includes 94 actions targeting operations responsible for over one billion calls. Enforcement actions have targeted robocallers pitching “fraudulent money-making opportunities” and “medical alert systems.” Combined with other initiatives, the FTC has brought 145 cases against 479 companies and 387 individuals responsible for illegal calls.
"We're all fed up with the tens of billions of illegal robocalls we get every year. Today's joint effort shows that combating this scourge remains a top priority for law enforcement agencies around the nation," says Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC’s contribution to Operation Call It Quits includes four new cases against 22 individuals. The defendants in some of these cases have already had their assets frozen. Others are expected to potentially pay fines ranging from $250,000 to $2 million. All combined, twenty-five federal, state, and local law enforcement partners have brought another 87 enforcement actions. Five of them are criminal cases brought by U.S. Attorney's Offices and TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration). Still, the FTC isn’t resting on its laurels.
FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter say, “it often feels like whack-a-mole for us, but when we whack a mole, we are stopping a substantial number of cases of a number of unwanted calls, and that's important to me."
Operation Call It Quits is yet another move in a long line of FTC actions targeting illegal telemarketing operations. Of course, for those operating within the boundaries of federal and state law, it makes managing their business all that more complex. Unfortunately, there is no relief in sight.
The FTC has reaffirmed its commitment to continue working with the telecommunications industry to encourage the innovation of new technology that will end illegal robocalls. They hope that in the coming months Congress will give it greater jurisdiction over telecommunications carriers to trace calls back to their source. Expect more legislation to follow and more announcements like Operation Call It Quits.