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article imageRecord multi-million fine for chatbot nuisance calls

By Tim Sandle     May 11, 2018 in Crime
A record $120 million fine for nuisance robocalls has been levied in the U.S. The fine related to Miami based salesman Adrian Abramovich who sold holidays and timeshare properties via an unsolicited robocall.
Adrian Abramovich was accused of flooding consumers with 97 million phone calls touting fake travel deals, according to Fortune. Abramovich admitted the calls but his defense was that this actions had been within the law. The calls were made through two companies: Marketing Strategy Leaders and Marketing Leaders. Abramovich said, during the hearing, that his robocalls could be done “with the click of a button” and thousands could be instantly through advances in software.
Abramovich must now pay the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a $120 million fine or, alternatively, take the dispute to federal court. The fine is the FCC's second-largest penalty in history and the first relating to a robocalling operation. According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: "Mr. Abramovich didn't just have the intent to defraud or cause harm. He actually caused harm", in conversation with CBS News. Pai also said: "Just ask his victims -- a number of whom are elderly -- who were duped into purchasing travel deals under false pretenses."
During the past two years, the FCC has received 4.5 million complaints about chatbot calls. Many of these calls use a technique called ID "spoofing", which mimicks the first six digits of the recipient's phone number. Here a person is more likely to pick up the phone if the call appears to be coming from their local neighborhood.
In related news, Google has stated that it will issue a warning to each user of its services if the voice on the other end of a phone is a chatbot rather than a real person. Google believes it is ethical to do so, as discussed in the Digital Journal article "Google to issue chatbot warning."
More about chatbots, Robocalls, Telephone, Communication
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