Robocalls have been a serious problem, and a source of criminal activity, for several years. The federal Department of Justice has recently stepped up its efforts to stop several carriers that have facilitated millions of these fraudulent calls to American consumers. The department issued a release detailing its most recent actions.
According to that release, the DOJ – in a first of its kind enforcement action – filed for temporary restraining orders against five companies and three individuals in two separate, landmark cases. These carriers, according to the DOJ, were warned many times that they were carrying fraudulent robocalls – including imposter calls claiming to be from government and businesses – but continued to carry these calls and facilitate foreign-based fraud schemes against Americans.
The two cases, involving similar allegations, include VoIP providers Ecommerce National LLC, d/b/a TollFreeDeals.com and SIP Retail, d/b/a spretail.com in one case, and Global Voicecom Inc., Global Telecommunication Services Inc, and KAT Telecom Inc., aka IP Dish, in the other. In each case the DOJ sought an order immediately halting the defendant’s transmission of unlawful robocall traffic
The DOJ release promised that it would pursue, to the fullest extent of the law, those that knowingly facilitate imposter fraud calls using all means at their disposal. It said that it was looking forward to working closely with law enforcement in India and other foreign countries where many robocalls originate, to bring perpetrators to justice.
It also noted that since President Trump signed the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law, the Department has taken hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases of robocalls targeting seniors. In March of 2019, it announced the largest elderly fraud enforcement action in American history, with over 260 defendants being charged in a nationwide sweep.
Robocalls are a curse to legitimate telecommunications carriers and end users, whether simply annoying, or involving serious criminal intent. It is heartening to see that our government is taking meaningful actions to reduce — and perhaps one day – to end them completely.