FCC and FTC Jointly Warn Gateway Carriers to Cease Facilitating Coronavirus Robocalls
Following on recent Congressional urging about scam robocalls that promise coronavirus testing and possible cures, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on April 3, sent letters jointly directing three U.S. gateway carriers to cease facilitating such calls.
In joint letters addressed to Connexum, SIPJoin Holdings Company and VoIP Terminator d/b/a BL Marketing, the agencies conveyed that they had “determined’ that each “is apparently routing and transmitting Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) scam robocall traffic” from originators VoIPMax (in the Philippines) or Oberlo Beer BPO (in Pakistan). A sample of the joint communications can be found here.
The letters reveal that “[i]nvestigations conducted by our agencies, in conjunction with the USTelecom Industry Traceback Group, revealed that [each] is a gateway voice provider for apparently fraudulent COVID-19 robocalls originating from [specific source]” and warn “[w]e will take all necessary and appropriate action to prevent these robocalls from entering U.S. networks.”
The letters “request” that each recipient “cease routing and transmitting such traffic immediately.” They go on to state that “[i]f after 48 hours of issuance of this letter [each] continues to route or transmit harmful robocall traffic from [the specified source] the FCC will authorize other U.S. voice providers to block all calls from SIPJoin and take any other steps as needed to prevent further transmission of unlawful calls from SIPJoin, and we will evaluate whether further action is appropriate in connection with your activity.”
The agencies simultaneously informed US Telecom-The Broadband Association, which includes all major US carriers, that if the 48-hour deadline is not adhered to the “FCC will: (1) authorize other U.S. providers to block all calls coming from that gateway or originating provider; and (2) authorize other U.S. providers to take any other steps as needed to prevent further transmission of unlawful calls originating from the originator(s).”