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Millions of Robocalls Shut Down

June 18, 2010
By David Sims - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor


FTC (News - Alert) attorneys in Chicago recently got a federal court order to shut down robocaller SBN Peripherals, based near Los Angeles, for allegedly "making over 370 million calls to consumers nationwide in the last year alone."

Philly.com wrote that "one phone service provider told the FTC that on a single day in April 2009, SBN sent 2.4 million calls to consumers -- more than 27 calls per second."
That's some serious robocalling, folks, and it's an eloquent argument for why it happens so much - it's that profitable. The FTC has tightened its rules against robocalls in recent months.
Yes, robocalling is illegal. TulsaWorld recently reported that two companies from Texas and Washington state "were recently forced out of business" for robocalling:
"At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on May 10 granted an order temporarily barring their alleged conduct, and the FTC served the temporary restraining order May 11."
Philly.com explains how the SBN scam is said to have worked. Bear in mind that the following is simply FTC allegation at this point, nothing's been proven yet: 
"To make it difficult for consumers to identify the caller, SBN's robocalls often transmitted caller ID information vaguely identifying the caller as 'SALES DEPT' and displaying telephone numbers registered to an offshore company it controlled called Asia Pacific Telecom.
"Asia Pacific, a foreign shell company for SBN, made many of the calls and lists its addresses in locations as disparate as the Northern Mariana Islands, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands," as the FTC's complaint alleges.
The operation, the FTC alleges, "used a technology known as 'voice broadcasting' to deliver its fraudulent pitches.," Philly.com reported: "The FTC charges that the recordings falsely claimed that the caller had urgent information about the consumer's auto warranty or credit card interest rate." And consumers who pressed '1' for more information were taken to live agents who tried to sell them a raft of useless items and services.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny



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