Stop your life: someone wants to sell you something.
It does not matter whether you are registered with the Federal Do Not Call Register. Never mind that a congressional task force summoned officials from a plethora of agencies to find a solution and some of that was codified into law. Never mind that fines of up to $ 10,000 per call threaten the perpetrators of these robocalls, spam calls and other unwanted solicitations. Or that your phone service has been activated to identify and delete calls, or that your cell phone settings are adjusted to âblock the callerâ and to silence the ringtones of numbers that they cannot identify.
They pass anyway.
Your government has been dealing with the matter since the early 1990s, as the telephone companies have probably been doing longer. And yet it continues.
If it gives you any comfort, you are far from alone in your exasperation. The Federal Communications Commission website lists the callers as its “number one consumer complaint and our top consumer protection priority.”
FCC Acting President Jessica Rosenworcel announced in March that the agency had renewed its efforts to tackle spam and call callers with the launch of a 51-person Robocall response team and an effort to unite the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and the National Association of State Attorneys General in the fight against unwanted calls. The robocall epidemic presents not only a nuisance, but a financial risk to consumers due to disclosing personal information, Rosenworcel said.
Texas telemarketers are said to have made around 1 billion calls to sell short-term health insurance, which they falsely claimed came from well-known insurers like Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and UnitedHealth Group.
The FCC also issued a cease and desist at a Florida company named Yodel Technologies. State records indicate that Yodel is run by a Robert Pulsipher, with a business address in Palm Harbor, near Tarpon Springs. Dunn & Bradstreet lists it as an 11-employee company “in the business of computer systems design and related services”.
A description by the FCC was less innocent, calling Yodel a robocalling company that “has been shown to facilitate fraudulent calls related to Social Security Administration imposters, health insurance calls, and debt reduction services.” for mortgages and credit cards â.
The company “purported to obtain consent from recipients of calls based on general consumer warnings on websites advertising contests or insurance offers,” the FCC said in a statement.
Our calls to a number listed for Yodel were not returned.
Rep. of the United States and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, introduced legislation in 2019 to create an interagency task force to tackle spam calls. The effort was passed in 2020 as part of a larger bill to address the issue. Crist says the task force has been credited with preventing millions of calls.
But there is no evidence that the problem is nearly solved, as work, home and cell phones sometimes ring every hour with calls. Block a number and another call is from another number. Don’t ring your phone for numbers it doesn’t recognize in your contacts, and you might miss important business calls or even emergency calls.
Crist, meanwhile, moved on. He runs to regain the governor’s seat.
As for the FCC, this week we asked what happened to the telemarketers in Texas who were hit by this big fine. No surprise: they didn’t pay a dime. “The target of the $ 225 million fine has sought a review of the agency’s forfeiture order and this is currently pending before the commission,” an FCC spokesperson said in a statement. -mail Monday.
Clearly, the agency needs to redouble its efforts and Congress needs to consider not only fines but also jail time for offenders, perhaps with terms based on the cumulative time of people they’ve lost. as well as on money stolen through fraudulent arguments.