FTC crackdown stops billions of illegal robocalls

Operations responsible for more than a billion illegal robocalls, including one based in South Florida, have agreed to permanently stop the harassing activities, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The four operations, each comprised of numerous affiliated companies, are defendants in civil lawsuits by the FTC aimed at seizing their assets and stopping them from making fraudulent calls. Each faced charges they violated the FTC Act and the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, including its Do Not Call provisions.

Under court orders announced Tuesday that have been finalized or are expected to be finalized in coming days, the four companies are barred from robocalling and most telemarketing activities, including use of automatic dialer programs, and will pay financial judgments.

One of the companies provided the software that the FTC is blaming for making more than a billion illegal robocalls.

Last week, phone service providers AT&T and Comcast announced successful completion of a test of a new Caller ID authentication system using digital certificates to verify that an incoming call’s display ID isn’t being spoofed.

The two companies said they planned to make the services available to their customers later in the year.

Boca Raton-based Pointbreak Media was shut down in May 2018 amid allegations the company falsely claimed to represent Google and threatened businesses with removal from Google search results unless they paid a one-time fee ranging from $300 to $700, the FTC said.