States chase billions of robocalls

PHOENIX (AP) — United States attorneys general have joined a lawsuit against a telecommunications company accused of making more than 7.5 billion robocalls to people on the National Number Registry. phone excluded.

The 141-page lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix against Avid Telecom, its owner Michael D. Lansky and company vice president Stacey S. Reeves. She is asking for a jury trial to determine damages.

The lawsuit stems from the national, bipartisan Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force made up of 51 attorneys general and the District of Columbia. It was formed last year to investigate and take legal action against telecommunications companies carrying volumes of robocall traffic.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said nearly 197 million robocalls were made to Arizona phone numbers between December 2018 and January 2023.

“Every day, countless Arizona consumers are harassed and annoyed by a relentless barrage of unwanted robocalls — and in some cases, those illegal calls threaten consumers with lawsuits and arrests,” Mayes said in a statement. communicated. “Even more worryingly, many of these calls are scams designed to pressure frightened consumers, often elderly people, into handing over their hard-earned money.”

The lawsuit said Avid Telecom used spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to come from government and law enforcement agencies as well as private companies.

The company also allegedly sent or forwarded scam calls about the Social Security Administration, Medicare, Amazon, and DirecTV, as well as auto warranties, employment, and credit card interest rate reductions.

“Americans are tired of their phones ringing non-stop with robocall scams,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Millions of seniors and vulnerable consumers have been defrauded by these illegal robocalls.”

The lawsuit alleges that Lansky and Reeves violated the Telephone Consumer Shield Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws.

“Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, Avid Telecom operates in a manner that complies with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations,” said Neil Ende, the company’s outside counsel. “The company has never been found guilty by any court or regulatory authority of transmitting illegal traffic and is prepared to meet with attorneys general, as it has done numerous times in the past, to demonstrate further his good faith and lawful conduct.

“In this context, the company is disappointed that the attorneys general chose not to communicate their concerns directly before filing the complaint,” Ende added. “While the company always prefers to work with regulators and law enforcement to resolve issues of concern, if necessary, the company will vigorously defend itself and enforce its rights and reputation through the legal process. “

Robocalls have also been a problem in elections in recent years. In the 2020 election, voters across the United States received anonymous robocalls in the weeks leading up to Election Day telling them to “stay safe and stay home.”

Two conservative pranksters have been convicted of fraud for making more than 85,000 robocalls to black voters in five states.

Falsely declared calls giving information in mail-in ballots could result in arrest, debt collection or forced vaccination. Their sentence included spending 500 hours registering voters in low-income neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.


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