FCC, FTC Crack Down on Covid-19 Robocall Scammers

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In more coronavirus news, the Federal Communications Commission (see our May 8th blog), has joined with the Federal Trade Commission to demand that international gateway providers allowing Covid-19- related scam robocalls into the U.S. cut off this traffic or face serious consequences.

Letters demanding that these calls cease within 48 hours were sent to RSCom LTD, Intelepeer Cloud Communications and PTGi International Carrier Services. The FCC/FTC also sent a letter to USTelecom, asking its members to begin blocking these calls if the above-named providers do not stop them within that 48 hour-period.

The scam robocalls include:

  1. RSCcom of Knoxville, TN and Aurora, Ontario carried a message saying “We cannot provide service due to Covid-19, but you can have been charged $399. Press 1 to claim a refund.” This false message is coming from the United Kingdom.
  2. A Social Security Administration scam originating from Germany over PTGi of Washington, D.C. saying that “during this difficult time of coronavirus, we have to suspend your Social Security account.”
  3. A fake IRS call telling people that because of coronavirus, people may not have to pay mortgages, credit cards, medical bills and student loans, or may pay using a 0% interest rate. This one, carried by Intelepeer of San Mateo, CA, is coming from somewhere overseas.

According to a strong message from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, “We expect nothing less from these providers than shutting down this scam robocall traffic. These companies can access our nation’s phone networks to provide legitimate services to consumers and businesses, not facilitate floods of scam robocalls. They need to stop this traffic and not let it back on their networks – or face losing their access to the American phone system.”

It seems to us that this is an FCC that is extremely proactive on behalf of honest American telecommunications and broadband consumers, rather than the overregulation of professional American telecommunications and broadband service providers.