The FTC has gotten a default judgment against a California man who ran several companies that the commission alleges made billions of illegal robocalls, many of them to people who were on the Do Not Call list.
The judgment includes a $2.7 million fine for Aaron Michael Jones, the man who the FTC says ran the robocall operation for several years. There are a number of different companies also involved in the order, which was handed down by the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and the judgment bars Jones from making robocalls in the future or being part of companies that do so.
“The FTC alleged that Defendants assisted their numerous telemarketer clients in bombarding American consumers will billions of ‘robocalls’—calls delivery prerecorded messages—as well as calls to consumers whose telephone numbers were on the National Do Not Call (‘DNC’) Registry, and calls made with inaccurate, or ‘spoofed,’ caller ID information,” the judgment says.
In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Jones, along with another man, Steven Stansbury, ran at least nine companies beginning in 2009 that “made or helped to make billions of these illegal robocalls”. The calls typically were used to try and sell extended auto warranties, search engine optimization services, home security systems, or other services.
Robocall companies often employ a number of different tactics in making their calls to consumers. Many operators use caller ID spoofing to make their calls look more legitimate, often using numbers that appear to be local or from a government agency. Both the FTC and the FCC have been working on methods to curtail the robocall problem, using technical and other means. The FCC is considering a rule that would allow carriers to block calls that have spoofed caller ID information. Another potential solution is the establishment of a do-not-originate list of numbers that should never be used to make outbound calls.