“Robocalls are an invasion of privacy and most robocalls are illegal.”
That’s what Attorney General Ken Paxton said after he, in cooperation with the Federal Trade Commission, recently filed nearly 100 actions targeting operations around the country responsible for more than one billion phone calls — pitching everything from fraudulent credit card services to auto warranty protection.
“Even worse, robocall scams often take advantage of consumers through identity theft and by stealing their hard-earned money,” Paxton said. “‘Operation Call it Quits’ represents just one of the many consumer protection and enforcement action cases my office has successfully collaborated on with the FTC in our ongoing effort to protect Texans.”
Residents shared their thoughts about robocalls on the Times-Review Facebook page.
Raven Perez said she deals with the issue every day.
“My app gets half of them and instantly blocks them,” she said. “The others get through more than 20+ a day.”
Colleen Gilmore Elderfield said she downloaded a beta test of IOS 13 that comes out later this year for iPhones.
“It sends any number not in your contact list straight to voicemail,” she said. “It’s wonderful!!!”
The joint crackdown is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to help stem the tide of annoying and unsolicited pre-recorded telemarketing calls.
Paxton’s Consumer Protection Division took legal action on several cases affecting Texans:
First, the division filed a lawsuit against Mendoza Marketing, resulting in an injunction prohibiting the company from initiating any telemarketing call to a Texas consumer, initiating any telephone call that plays a recorded message, and initiating any telephone call to a person listed on the Texas or federal no-call list.
The company’s robocalls violated several state and federal telemarketing statutes and regulations, including the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The division then filed a motion in federal court seeking to hold Kevin J. Calvin in contempt for violating a prior court order prohibiting him from engaging in illegal telemarketing practices in Texas.
In 2015, the division obtained a judgment and permanent injunction against Calvin prohibiting him from, among other things, placing any robocalls without the consent of the recipient and calling any Texas resident whose telephone number was listed on the Texas or federal no-call list.
Despite the court order, the division’s motion alleges that Calvin continued to make thousands of robocalls to Texas residents, including those on the no-call list.
“We’re all fed up with the tens of billions of illegal robocalls we get every year,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “[This] joint effort shows that combatting this scourge remains a top priority for law enforcement agencies around the nation.”
Paxton said there’s been a significant increase in the number of illegal robocalls because internet-powered phone systems have made it cheap and easy for scammers to make illegal calls from anywhere in the world, and to hide from law enforcement by displaying fake caller ID information, also known as spoofing.