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On March 17, the FCC issued a record $225 million fine against two Texas-based telemarketers and their associated companies for allegedly transmitting roughly one billion illegally spoofed robocalls falsely claiming to offer plans issued by well known-health insurance companies. The Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits telemarketers from manipulating caller ID information with the intent to harm, defraud or wrongfully obtain anything of value. According to the FCC’s investigation, one of the companies’ allegedly spoofed robocalls “caused at least one company whose caller IDs were spoofed to become overwhelmed with angry call-backs from aggrieved consumers.” One of the telemarketers also apparently admitted that he placed millions of spoofed calls each day, including to numbers on the Do Not Call list. FCC acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel issued a statement commenting on the agency’s “largest fine ever,” in which she noted that the “individuals involved didn’t just lie about who they were when they made their calls—they said they were calling on behalf of well-known health insurance companies on more than a billion calls. That’s fraud on an enormous scale.”
On February 14, the FCC released a notice of proposed rulemaking intended to strengthen its rules against caller ID spoofing and expand the agency’s enforcement efforts against illegal spoofed text messages and phone calls, including those from overseas. The proposed rules would enact requirements in the recently passed RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018, and expand Truth in Caller ID Act prohibitions against the transmittal of “misleading or inaccurate caller ID information (‘spoofing’) with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value” to text messages and calls to U.S. residents originating from outside the U.S.
The FCC seeks comments on the proposed rules—adopted unanimously at the agency’s February 14 meeting—on, among other things, what changes to the Truth in Caller ID rules can be made “to better prevent inaccurate or misleading caller ID information from harming consumers.” Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
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- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss "Major litigation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
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