FCC Takes Action Against COVID-19-related Scam Robocalls
April 10, 2020
Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) jointly warned three gateway providers to immediately stop transmitting a “flood” of overseas-originating scam robocalls to Americans regarding COVID-19. The identified providers were told that they must “cut off” these calls within 48 hours, and if they do not, then other phone companies will be authorized to take the drastic step of blocking “all traffic” from these providers’ networks.
The FCC and FTC warnings cite two COVID-19-related robocall scams. The first scam, according to the FCC and FTC, involves an offer of a non-existent home test kit for COVID-19. These calls reportedly originate in the Philippines. The second scam offers HVAC cleaning services based on the false claim that they will help fight COVID-19. These calls reportedly originate in Pakistan.
The USTelecom Industry Traceback Group first identified the scam robocalls. The FCC and FTC thanked USTelecom in a publically-available letter. In the letter, USTelecom was told that if, after 48 hours, any identified gateway provider continues to facilitate the entry of unlawful robocalls onto American networks, then the FCC will authorize other U.S. providers to block all calls from that gateway provider.
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