FTC hits robocallers, but sanctions do not match their heinous crimes – TechCrunch


The fight against the callers is just beginning, and the wheel of justice is slowly turning, but the FTC has just ended a handful of major operations responsible for billions of unwanted calls, some of which are adding additional fraud. The money coming out is surprisingly small, though – but there is a reason for that.

In an announcement made yesterday, the FTC announced the removal of four transactions: NetDotSolutions, which did all kinds of marketing with a custom mass-dialing platform; Higher Goals Marketing, which promised false debt relief; Pointbreak Media, who threatened to remove Google companies from the list if they did not pay; Veterans of America, AKA, Save Our Soldiers, AKA Act of Valor, whose creator, Travis Deloy Peterson, deserves a special place in hell for scamming people trying to give vehicles to veterinarians.

Together they accounted for about two billion appeals, which, in the context of the five billion made each month, may seem like a drop of water, but even a slight reduction is welcome.

What is less encouraging is the extent of the sanctions. Although the cases have resulted in judgments totaling some $ 24 million, the actual amount that scammers will have to pay will eventually come close to $ 3 to $ 4 million. A scammer whose judgments total more than $ 5 million will be suspended while he pays only $ 18,332 – and anything from the sale of his all-new Mercedes.

I've discussed with a FTC spokesperson the reason why this is the case. They explained that the amount of the judgment is essentially a ceiling defined by the harm done to the consumer, but that, in most cases, the defendants have virtually no access to that amount in money or assets. You can only get what they have, and sometimes it's not much.

Particularly in Florida, they continued, where the Homestead rule means that houses can not be foreclosed during this procedure, which means that a state-based robotic crook could earn $ 10 million. dollars, put everything on a house, then declare that he had no assets when the FTC or anyone comes knocking on the door. This seems likely to be the case of Mr. "I only have $ 18,000 and a Mercedes CLS 2017" above, who is actually a Floridian.

The FTC is doing its best to investigate and enumerate the assets of an accused, but they can not grasp what is not there. In the case of a large company like Dish, a massive judgment like the $ 180 million last year may be paid in full – but impeccable individuals and small businesses are much more difficult to pin down.

Even in this case, the agency collects a lot of money to pay back to the consumers concerned, which should also be done with this money. You will not see a cent just for being bothered by calls, although you need to show that it was one of those companies and that they cheated on you or tried to do it.

More importantly, the people and companies in question are immediately closed and the people involved are forbidden to start again. The purpose of the FTC is to lighten up consumers and, if they decide to sue, the case could last for years, as long as the company and the network of calls continue to operate or develop insulation layers against the law.

You can read the full press release and order the documents on the FTC website – but be aware that you might be sorry to hear about these slimeballs living the high life.

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