Man accused of making millions of robocalls faces $120 million FCC fine

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Consumers who answered the calls were transferred to foreign call centers that tried to sell vacation packages, often involving timeshares. According to the FCC's documents, Abramovich impersonated companies like Expedia and TripAdvisor, trying to "trick unsuspecting consumers into answering and listening to his advertising message". Abramovich was responsible for the most extensive caller ID spoofing schemes we have ever encountered, and he caused companies and individuals extensive harm. According to the FCC he duped a large number of elderly people into purchasing bogus travel deals. The FCC said Mr Abramovich had spoofed his caller ID to make people believe they were receiving a call from a local number.

The complaint against Abramovich and his companies, Marketing Strategy Leaders and Marketing Leaders, said these companies made some 96 million computer-dialed calls over a three-month period.

A pre-recorded message would offer an "exclusive" holiday or travel deal, posing as an offer from a well-known brand such as TripAdvisor or Hilton hotels.

If there were a Guinness World Record for robocalls, a Miami man may have set it.

US consumers get almost 2.5 billion monthly robocalls - automated, prerecorded calls that regulators have labeled a "scourge", according to FCC estimates. The FCC, in a citation from June 22, 2017, said the robocalls went to "critical emergency phone lines" used by hospitals and medical providers, as well as cell phones and residential phones, without the recipients' consent.

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Abramovich's Senate testimony explained why.

Abramovich's robocalls only make up a small fraction of those regularly received by Americans; 3.4 billion were made in April, up 30 percent from previous year. "There are websites right now. that offer volume pricing for using their robocalling system that can handle millions of calls".

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said previous year "Americans are mad as hell" at robocalls and the agency gets more than 200,000 complaints annually.

"It is the top consumer protection priority for the chairman", said Wiquist, "but there's no silver bullet".

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