Record multi-million fine for chatbot nuisance calls

Record multi-million fine for chatbot nuisance calls

Record multi-million fine for chatbot nuisance calls

The Federal Communications Commission voted to impose a $120 million fine Thursday on a Florida man, who allegedly made almost 100 million robocalls to trick consumers into purchasing "exclusive" vacation deals from well-known travel companies.

The FCC said Adrian Abramovich of Miami made nearly 100 million robocalls over a three-month period in what the agency called a "malicious spoofing" operation.

Abramovich and his legal representatives could not be immediately reached to comment on the fine.

Abramovich testified in Congress last month under subpoena. He claimed that he was engaging in legitimate business practices by offering real travel deals to consumers.

If the fact that one person can apparently make that many calls, robotic or otherwise, doesn't gall you a little bit, I direct you to the fact that he allegedly disrupted emergency phone lines. Several of these major companies, which were getting complaints from consumers who thought they were malfeasors, assisted the FCC in its investigation. Those who did were transferred to foreign call centers where live operators attempted to sell vacation packages-often involving timeshares-at destinations unrelated to the named travel or hospitality companies.

In a statement from the FCC, Chairman Ajit Pai said Abramovich did not dispute making the millions of calls, nor did he dispute that the calls were made with "inaccurate caller ID information".

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At the hearing, Abramovich admitted to being behind the calls but denied they had a major impact because numerous calls went unanswered and that he was connecting individuals to "real resorts, offering real vacation packages".

Adrian Abramovich, of Miami, Florida, would conducted 96 million robocalls in order to trick unsuspecting consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages, according to the FCC.

Those robocalls impacted other people and services, the FCC said. Abramovich said, during the hearing, that his robocalls could be done "with the click of a button" and thousands could be instantly through advances in software. The commission announced it was upholding its original proposed fine of $120m, in part due to feedback it got from the people impacted by the robocalling. The FCC has said it gets more than 200,000 complaints each year about unwanted calls.

But Inouye said that it might be possible to cut back on robocalling, with proper coordination between the FCC and communications companies.

YouMail, a company that blocks robocalls and tracks them, estimated that 3.4 billion robocalls were placed in April in the United States, an all time high.

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