The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) handed down the biggest fine in its history. Two Texas-based telemarketers are set to $ 225 million after making approximately 1 billion automated calls to people across the United States. They ran at least two companies that illegally spoofed other companies to try and sell people on short-term insurance plans, claiming they were from well-known providers like Cigna.
One of those involved in the scheme admitted to making “millions” of automated calls a day, even going so far as to do everything possible to call the numbers on the do not call list because he thought it would be more cost effective to do so. . According to the FCC, “a large portion” of the more than 23.6 million automated health insurance calls that crossed U.S. wireless networks in 2018 were from Rising Eagle, one of the companies managed by the two telemarketers. .
Even the largest fine in the agency’s history is unlikely to curb robocalls. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that they have not been effective at all. Two years ago, a report by The Wall Street Journal found that between 2015 and 2019, the FCC ordered violators Consumer protection by telephone Take action to pay $ 208.4 million in penalties. At the end of this period, the agency had raised only $ 6,790. This number may have changed over the years since the WSJ report came out. All the same, it is not encouraging.
If there is good news, it’s that the FCC isn’t just about fines. In one separate announcement, the agency detailed its new automatic anti-call agenda. Interim President Jessica Rosenworcel has set up a Robocall intervention team. Comprised of 51 FCC members in six offices, the team will coordinate the agency’s robocall efforts and develop new policies to be put in place. It has also sent prohibition and disclaimer letters to six companies in Canada, the UK and the US that have consistently urged its robotic calling guidelines. If companies don’t comply with the letters, the FCC says it can ask voice service providers in the United States to block all traffic from them permanently.