Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and its law enforcement partners announced their joint crackdown on illegal robocalls entitled, “Operation Call it Quits.” The operation is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to stop the “universally loathed pre-recorded telemarketing calls.”
“Operation Call it Quits” includes 94 enforcement actions targeting operations around the country that are responsible for more than one billion calls pitching a variety of products and services. The latest operation includes four new cases and three new settlements from the FTC, which include: (1) a $25.3 million financial judgment against Lifewatch, and an $8.9 million financial judgment against two of its business partners, who were accused of bombarding primarily elderly consumers with at least one billion unsolicited robocalls to pitch “free” medical alert systems; (2) a case involving robocalls to financially distressed consumers, especially elderly consumers, who were offered bogus credit card interest rate reduction services; (3) a case where consumers were charged up to $22,500 for fraudulent money-making opportunities; (4) a case where the defendants dialed millions of phone numbers on the Do Not Call registry in an attempt to develop leads for home solar energy companies; and (5) a case involving the use of an autodialer to send out millions of illegal robocalls and calls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry.
In addition to the FTC’s actions, 25 federal, state and local agencies lodged 87 enforcement actions as part of the initiative.
Takeaway: This joint effort by the FTC and local and state officials illustrates that combating robocalls remains a top priority, especially where consumers experience harm from falling victim to such scams.