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FCC seeks $37.5 million fine on firm that spoofed consumer numbers

The company made 2.3 million robocalls over 14 months.
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The FCC is looking to fine an Arizona-based company $37.5 million for making spoofed telemarketing calls. The company, Affordable Enterprises of Arizona, made more than 2.3 million calls over the course of 14 months, often masking its own number with those of consumers in the area. The FCC says this is the first major action taken against a company involved in such a practice. While the commission has issued robocall fines before, in those cases, the numbers spoofed were often ones not currently in use.

One woman whose number was spoofed by the company said that she was getting over five calls per day from others complaining about the telemarketing calls seemingly coming from her number. "Such calling tactics harm both the consumers receiving the deceptive calls and those whose numbers are essentially commandeered by the telemarketer," the FCC said.

Robocalls are a major nuisance and evidence suggests they'll become increasingly prevalent. The FCC has made efforts to manage robocalls, but because some of those measures, including those put into place last year, rely on service providers to take action against those calls, they haven't been terribly effective. In a statement, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that the FCC needs a better approach to dealing with the problem. "It's great that this agency is issuing a forfeiture order and notice of apparent liability today. But it's crazy to think that these individual actions are going to do the trick and staunch the flow," she said. "With this one-by-one effort we are trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon."

The fine isn't set in stone just yet, as the company in question will be able to respond to the FCC's settlement proposal. On Wednesday, the agency also fined a man $82 million for making 21 million robocalls using spoofed numbers.

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