The Federal Trade Commission has put four large robocall operations out of business.
The scams have allegedly made billions of calls to people across the U.S. pitching auto warranties, debt-relief services, and home security systems, among others. The FTC said Tuesday those responsible are settling lawsuits with the agency.
Facing legal action are NetDotSolutions, Higher Goals Marketing, Veterans of America, and Pointbreak Media, which the FTC filed complaints against in 2017 and 2018.
“Under the court orders…the defendants are banned from robocalling and most telemarketing activities, including those using an automatic dialer, and will pay significant financial judgments,” the FTC said in the statement. “The defendant in one of these cases provided the software platform that resulted in more than one billion illegal robocalls.”
The fines imposed range from $500,000 to $3.64 million.
The FTC filed a complaint in June 2018 in federal district court against James “Jamie” Christiano who manages NetDotSolutions.
The complaint said Christiano and NetDotSolutions operated “TelWeb,” which the FTC described as a “computer-based telephone dialing platform that can be used to blast out a large volume of telephone calls‒‒especially robocalls‒‒in a short time.” The technology was allegedly used by robocallers in at least eight other FTC cases. Defendants named in the NetDotSolutions complaint will pay $1.35 million.
Pointbreak, for its part, allegedly claimed to be Google in robocalls made to small business owners, and told them their businesses would be listed as “permanently closed” in Google searches. The spam callers then asked for hundreds of dollars from the businesses if they wanted to keep their listing.