Despite 'Do Not Call' Registry, Hi-Tech Fraudsters Fuel More Robocalls

Despite 'Do Not Call' Registry, Hi-Tech Fraudsters Fuel More RobocallsThe Federal Trade Commission told U.S. senators that it has been aggressively fighting the problem of illegal commercial robocalls, but that advances in technology have spawned more fraudsters.
As a result, the FTC “is using every tool at its disposal to fight them,” Lois Greisman, associate director for the agency’s Division of Marketing Practices, told a U.S. Senate subcommittee on commerce Wednesday.
Greisman told senators that the Do Not Call Registry – which just marked its 10th year — now includes more than 221 million phone numbers.
She said the registry has been tremendously successful in protecting consumers’ privacy from the unwanted calls of tens of thousands of legitimate telemarketers each year.
But the agency and its law enforcement partners need to come up with innovative solutions to block unlawful telemarketing calls as technological advances spring up.
“Until recently, telemarketing required significant capital investment in specialized hardware and labor,” Greisman said. “Now, robocallers benefit from automated dialing technology, inexpensive long distance calling rates, and the ability to move internationally and employ cheap labor. The only necessary equipment is a computer connected to the Internet.”
Greisman’s testimony came two weeks after the FTC announced the largest civil penalty ever for Registry violations. In that case, the FTC said that Mortgage Investors Corporation, one of the country’s leading refinancers of veterans’ home loans, will pay $7.5 million for calling consumers whose numbers are on the Registry.
The Mortgage Investors case is the 105th Do Not Call enforcement action the FTC has announced since 2004, and in that time it has filed Registry-related lawsuits against 298 companies and 234 individuals.
While some of the cases are still being litigated, the FTC has so far received court orders totaling more than $741 million in consumer restitution or disgorgement and $126 million in civil penalties.
Read the FTC’s testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *