Skip to main content

FTC forces the closure of four major robocall scam operators

In what must feel like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole for those chasing down dodgy robocall operators, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Wednesday it had recently forced the closure of four separate operations responsible for bombarding people across the United States with billions of illegal calls.

The annoying calls pitched auto warranties, debt-relief services, home security systems, and fake charities. One Florida-based operation even pretended to represent Google and made false threats to remove businesses from the web giant’s search results, according to the FTC.

The companies forced to close have been hit with fines of between $540,000 and $3.64 million, the FTC said in a statement. All have agreed to settle the commission’s charges and are now banned from robocalling and “most” telemarketing activities.

NetDotSolutions, one of the companies targeted by the FTC, is alleged to have facilitated “billions of illegal robocalls to consumers nationwide, pitching everything from auto warranties to home security systems and supposed debt-relief services.”

Higher Goals Marketing, another of those involved, reportedly tried to sell fake debt-relief services. “The defendants guaranteed they could substantially and permanently lower consumers’ credit card interest rates, and would save consumers thousands of dollars in interest payments. In reality, the scheme was rarely, if ever, able to deliver the promised results,” the FTC said.

A particularly abhorrent con was set up by a company calling itself Veterans of America. It’s alleged to have used fake veterans’ charities and illegal robocalls to persuade people to donate cars, boats, “and other things of value,” but the person running the operation simply sold all of the donated items for his own benefit.

Finally, Pointbreak Media reportedly made the false claim that it was representing Google, promising businesses an array of bogus services that included improved placements in search results. In one racket noted by the FTC, the company’s telemarketers told some call recipients that the only way to stay on Google’s search engine was by sending a one-time payment of between $300 and $700.

Commenting on the action, Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said: “We have brought dozens of cases targeting illegal robocalls, and fighting unwanted calls remains one of our highest priorities.”

While everyone plagued by robocalls will welcome the closure of these four operators, there’s still much work to be done by the FTC if it’s to have any discernible impact on the nuisance calls. Recent data suggests robocalls mushroomed in 2018 with an estimated 47.8 billion made in the U.S. alone, marking a 56 percent increase over 2017. Around 40 percent of the calls are thought to be scams.

Want to learn more? Digital Trends offers up some tips on how best to deal with robocalls and how to avoid getting scammed.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Scam robocalls to hospitals could lead to a major health hazard
cell phone companies stop robocalls after fcc vote robo calls header

How much time do you think spam robocalls cost you? Answering a robocaller may only take up a few moments of your day -- but in large numbers those calls can really add up, and it's become a real problem for U.S. hospitals. According to a report from the Washington Post, a rising tide of spam robocalls are taking up valuable hospital time and reducing the abilities of facilities to react to real emergencies.

While robocalls are just annoying for your average user, the sheer number of calls bombarding facilities like the Boston-based Tufts Medical Center can be crippling. According to Taylor Lehmann, chief information security officer of Tufts, his facility received more than 4,500 robocalls in just two hours on April 30, 2018. In a similar vein, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute was rung more than 6,600 times across 90 days -- a process that the center's chief information security officer, Dave Summitt, estimates took up 65 hours of hospital response time.

Read more
The Motorola Razr just got some tough competition
Honor Magic V Flip cover display.

Honor has launched its very first foldable clamshell phone in China in the form of the Honor Magic V Flip. Though Honor has already been an established player in the foldable market with the Magic V series, this is the brand’s first flip phone, which joins the likes of Motorola Razr Plus, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, Oppo Find N3, and more.

The Honor Magic V Flip is quite an impressive flip phone. It appears to be ahead of the competition with the large 4-inch cover display, which is the largest we’ve seen yet, and it provides a unique dual-screen experience.

Read more
Your Galaxy S22 is about to get an important security update
Samsung Galaxy S22 held in hand.

If you own a Samsung Galaxy S22, you should be on the lookout for a critical security update. Currently making its way to European users, the update should soon arrive for U.S. folks, too. The same June 2024 update was sent to Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S23 owners earlier this year.

The new update addresses 59 security vulnerabilities and is tailored for the Galaxy S22 series, including the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, and Galaxy S22 Ultra. These smartphones bear model numbers SM-S901B, SM-S906B, and SM-S908B.

Read more