ENDGADGET – The FCC has been trying to squash robocalls for quite some time and even adopted a new set of rules aimed at shutting them down late last year. Now, it has slapped one of the biggest robocall operators with a $120 million fine — the largest amount it has ever imposed — showing others like him that the agency is determined to take them down. The FCC has given Adrian Abramovich from Miami a massive penalty for being responsible for 96 million robocalls that used a scheme called “neighbor spoofing.” This technique masks the real callers’ number with a fake one that uses the area code and the first three digits of the recipients’ phone number, making them more likely to pick up.
If they do pick up, they’ll find themselves forwarded to an agent who makes them listen to ads and spiels convincing them to buy vacation packages, often with timeshares. The calls were also disguised to make them look like they’re from legit well-known travel companies and hotel groups like Marriott, Expedia, Hilton and TripAdvisor. In fact, TripAdvisor was the one that reported the operation and the one that figured out the connection between the calls and Abramovich in an independent investigation. Medical paging provider Spōk also helped with the FCC’s investigation, because the robocallers’ operation disrupted hospital and physician communications. Read More!