FCC and FTC demand gateway providers cut off COVID-19 scam robocalls

The FCC and the FTC demanded that voice service providers block coronavirus-related scam robocalls from reaching U.S. consumers within 48 hours. If they don’t, other phone companies will be able to begin blocking all traffic from these gateway provider networks. Here’s an overview.

The USTelecom Industry Traceback Group identified the originators of these scam robocalls:

  • VoIPMax, from the Philippines
  • Oberlo Peer BPO, from Pakistan

The scam robocall campaigns include:

  • An offer for a non-existent free test kit for COVID-19
  • HVAC cleaning services that falsely claim will help fight COVID-19

The Traceback Group also identified the gateway providers bringing these calls into the U.S.

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection wrote to these gateway providers and instructed them to stop bringing these scam calls into the country within 48 hours:

  1. SIPJoin, of Suffolk, Virginia
  2. Connexum, of Orange, California
  3. VoIP Terminator/BL Marketing, of Lake Mary, Florida

The Commissions also wrote to USTelecom and asked its members to begin blocking all calls from these providers if the flood of robocalls is not cut off within 48 hours.

These letters are dated April 3, 2020. They were released at 1:28pm EDT.

Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman

“When it comes to scam robocalls, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “These phone companies need to cut off this traffic and protect consumers from these scams. The choice is simple: Move forward as responsible network providers or see themselves cut off from the phone system.”

UPDATE: these three providers complied with this request and stopped bringing these calls into the U.S. telephone network.

FCC demands gateway providers cut off COVID-19 scam robocalls