San Francisco, May 29 (IANS): At least 48 US states have sued a telecom company called Avid Telecom for allegedly routing 7.5 billion illegal and spoofed robocalls to millions of residents on the 'Do Not Call Registry'.
The lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the District of Arizona against Avid Telecom, its CEO Michael Lansky and VP of Operations and Sales Stacey Reeves.
It seeks a jury trial, a permanent injunction to prevent additional illegal robocalls, and financial penalties including "restitution or other compensation on behalf of residents" for illegal calls.
According to Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, between December 2018 and January 2023, nearly 196,658,000 of those calls were made to Arizona phone numbers.
In the more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, Avid Telecom used spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies.
"Many of these calls are scams designed to pressure frightened consumers, often senior citizens, into handing over their hard-earned money. Such a blatant disregard for consumer protection laws will not be tolerated and violators of these laws will be held accountable," Mayes said in a statement.
Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialling software, and/or expertise to help its customers make mass robocalls.
It also serves as an intermediate provider and allegedly facilitated or helped route illegal robocalls across the country.
Between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid sent or attempted to transmit more than 24.5 billion calls.
"More than 90 per cent of those calls lasted less than just 15 seconds, which indicates they were likely robocalls," according to Mayes office.
Further, Avid helped make hundreds of millions of calls using spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies.
The legal action came from the nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 bipartisan attorneys general.
The task force is investigating and taking legal action against those responsible for routing significant volumes of illegal robocall traffic into and across the US.