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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Everyone is fed up with robocalls. Now 48 states are suing one company that they say made 7.5 billion of them.

Everyone is fed up with robocalls. Now 48 states are suing one company that they say made 7.5 billion of them.

The lawsuit alleges that Avid Telecom used fake caller ID numbers to make it seem like calls were from government officials and private companies.
Attorneys general across the US joined in a lawsuit against a telecommunications company accused of making more than 7.5 billion robocalls to people on the national Do Not Call Registry.

The 141-page lawsuit was filed Tuesday by 49 attorneys general in US District Court in Phoenix against Avid Telecom, its owner Michael D. Lansky, and company vice president Stacey S. Reeves. It seeks a jury trial to determine damages.

The lawsuit arises from the nationwide, bipartisan Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 attorneys general and the District of Columbia. It was formed last year to investigate and take legal action against telecommunications companies routing volumes of robocall traffic.

On Twitter, reactions to the suit suggest legal action couldn't have come soon enough.

"What took so damn long," one user asked.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said nearly 197 million of the robocalls were made to Arizona phone numbers between December 2018 and January 2023.

The lawsuit said Avid Telecom used spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including for more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies.

The company also allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls about the Social Security Administration, Medicare, Amazon and DirecTV, as well as auto warranties, employment and credit card interest rate reductions.

"Americans are sick and tired of their phones ringing off the hook with fraudulent robocalls," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. "Seniors and vulnerable consumers have been scammed out of millions because of these illegal robocalls."

The lawsuit alleges Lansky and Reeves violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws.

"Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, Avid Telecom operates in a manner that is compliant with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations," said Neil Ende, the company's outside legal counsel. "The company has never been found by any court or regulatory authority to have transmitted unlawful traffic, and it is prepared to meet with the attorneys general, as it has on many occasions in the past, to further demonstrate its good faith and lawful conduct.

"While the company always prefers to work with regulators and law enforcement to address issues of concern, as necessary, the company will defend itself vigorously and vindicate its rights and reputation through the legal process," Ende added.

Robocalls have been an issue during elections in recent years. During the 2020 election, voters across the US received anonymous robocalls in the weeks leading up to Election Day telling them to " stay safe and stay home."

Two conservative hoaxers were convicted of fraud for making over 85,000 robocalls to Black voters in five states.

The calls falsely stated that giving information in mail-in ballots could lead to arrest, debt collection, or forced vaccination. Their sentence included spending 500 hours registering voters in low-income neighborhoods of Washington, DC.

In April, robocalls were used to target cryptocurrency investors in fake calls from overseas scammers pretending to be Coinbase.
Read the original article on Associated Press. Copyright 2023. Follow Associated Press on Twitter.
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