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Robocaller Gets Hit With $120 Million Fine For Over 100 Million Automated Calls

Robocaller Gets Hit With $120 Million Fine For Over 100 Million Automated Calls
The Detroit Free Press/MCT via Getty Images

Earlier this week, I shared some tips on how to ease the annoyance of those irritating robocalls. On Thursday, the Federal Communication Commission hit a robocaller with a record $120 million fine.

Adrian Abramovich, who lives in Florida, was penalized for making nearly 100 million spoofed robocalls in a mere three months. Spoofing involves generating a fake phone number that contains the first six digits of the recipient's number when a call appears on a person's caller ID. Abramovich's calls pretended to be from hospitality companies such as Trip Advisor, Expedia, Hilton and Marriott.

People who accepted the fake offer of a discounted vacation were then transferred to an operator, who then pitched timeshares in Mexico which were completely unrelated to the aforementioned companies. In a statement, FCC Ajit Pai said that Abramovich's actions caused harm, which is something that Abramovich denied.

"Mr. Abramovich didn't just have the intent to defraud or cause harm. He actually caused harm. Just ask his victims -- a number of whom are elderly -- who were duped into purchasing travel deals under false pretenses."

According to the complaint, Abramovich's companies, Marketing Strategy Leaders and Marketing Leaders, made more than 96 million robocalls, which were all computer-generated, over just three months. In recent years, the FCC has received more than 4.5 million consumer complaints about harassing robocalls.

In his April testimony before the Senate, Abramovich explained how he was able to make so many calls so quickly. Because of easy-to-use, open-source software, virtually anyone can plug in and make scores of robocalls to, well, anyone.

"There is available open-source software that can be misused by someone to make thousands of automated phone calls with the click of a button.There are websites right now. ... that offer volume pricing for using their robocalling system that can handle millions of calls."

Abramovich can either pay the fine or file an appeal in federal court. FCC spokesman Will Wiquist said that stopping robocalls is a top priority of the agency, although doing so in a manner that can prevent the barrage of calls consumers receive is extremely difficult. "It is the top consumer protection priority for the chairman," said Wiquist, "but there's no silver bullet."

Despite this execution of justice, however, people are still understandably aggravated that they have to deal with these invasive calls. Many on Twitter said that Abramovich should be in prison in addition to having to pay the fine.