Robocalls are a growing problem nationwide. Not only are they annoying, the calls are often part of a scam designed to trick consumers into parting with their hard-earned cash. My office is working diligently with our federal partners to stop these illegal calls, and this week, we joined the Federal Trade Commission in an effort to block one billion robocalls nationwide as part of Operation Call it Quits.
The robocall crackdown involved more than 90 actions across the country. As part of the crackdown, our office took action against three illegal operations targeting Floridians. Many of the victims of these illegal robocalls were seniors who had registered their phone numbers on the Do Not Call registry.
The calls purported to offer free products, but when consumers signed up they were billed monthly charges. Some offered credit card interest-rate-reduction services guaranteeing that consumers would save thousands if they would pay an upfront fee.
Working with the FTC, we shut down these scams, securing money judgments valued in the millions of dollars against the defendants and in one of the cases, provided an average of a $1,000 each in consumer refunds. This nationwide effort is just the latest action our office has taken to stop illegal robocalls.
Earlier this year, I urged Congress to enact the TRACED Act to reduce the number of illegal robocalls and fight spoofing—the practice of using technology to disguise a caller’s phone number. Last month, our office advocated for the Federal Communications Commission to enforce rules against caller ID spoofing.
There were more than 48 billion robocalls in 2018. Robocalls remain the number one source of consumer complaints received by the FTC and FCC, resulting in millions in consumer losses every year. It will take a massive collaborative effort to stop illegal robocalls, but we must continue to work together toward this end—for a stronger, safer Florida.