Disconnected: FCC slams robocaller with $120M fine - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

Disconnected: FCC slams robocaller with $120M fine

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) -

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday imposed a whopping $120 million fine on the man behind nearly 100 million "robocalls" that were masked by faked phone numbers.

The penalty against Florida resident Adrian Abramovich is the largest ever imposed for such an infraction.

The FCC originally proposed the fine last year, but the forfeiture order was implemented just now. In it, the Commission notes, "Mr. Abramovich didn’t just have the intent to defraud or cause harm. He actually caused harm. Just ask his victims -- a number of whom are elderly -- who were duped into purchasing travel deals under false pretenses... Our decision sends a loud and clear message: this FCC is an active cop on the beat and will throw the book at anyone who violates our spoofing and robocall rules and harms consumers."

Abramovich was linked to at least 96 million automated calls that appeared on phones to originate from the same area code and prefix as that of the recipient. It's a technique called "neighbor spoofing," giving the appearance that the call is coming from a local, likely familiar, source.

In reality, it was a massive spamming operation.

While the FCC hailed the action, countless such operations continue to thrive -- many based overseas, largely clear of the reach of United States regulators.

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