U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today convened a hearing entitled, “Abusive Robocalls and How We Can Stop Them.” The hearing examined the problem of malicious spoofing and abusive robocalls designed to defraud consumers, as well as measures being taken by government and industry professionals to protect consumers.
“We’re here to address an issue that I’m sure we can all agree on: unwanted, abusive, and illegal robocalls have got to stop,” said Thune. “Unsolicited robocalls consistently rank among the top consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. Beyond just being annoying, many of those who send out unwanted robocalls do so with the intent to defraud consumers. As more phone systems move from copper wires to the internet, it has become easier and cheaper for bad actors to make illegal robocalls from anywhere in the world. These new technologies have also made it easier for scammers to hide from law enforcement and seek to gain their victims’ trust by displaying fake caller ID information.”
During the hearing, Thune questioned Adrian Abramovich, who testified under subpoena and faces $120 million in FCC penalties for allegedly making nearly 100 million robocalls nationwide.
“Mr. Abramovich, your participation at today’s hearing is important,” said Thune. “According to the FCC, you allegedly made nearly 100 million robocalls to American consumers purporting to be a well-known travel or hospitality company such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, Marriott, or Hilton … Mr. Abramovich, I expect that today you will shed some light on your past conduct and provide the Committee with your unique perspective on the technologies and practices behind abusive robocalls.”
The hearing also included testimony from a panel of experts who are working to prevent robocall scams throughout the United States.