New actions target those who distributed or facilitated billions of illegal calls.
SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah Division of Consumer Protection, a division within the Utah Department of Commerce, along with the Federal Trade Commission and other law enforcement partners nationwide, which includes attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, announced a new crackdown on illegal telemarketing targeting operations responsible for billions of calls to U.S. consumers.
Joint State and Federal Initiative « Operation Stop Scam Calls » Builds on Efforts by Utah and Other State and Federal Partners to Fight the Scourge of Scam Calls
telemarketing, including automated calls. This initiative targets telemarketers and the companies that hire them, as well as lead generators who deceptively harvest and provide consumers’ phone numbers to robocallers and others, falsely representing that these consumers have consented to receive calls. It also targets Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers who facilitate tens of billions of rogue rogue calls each year, often originating overseas.
“No one likes the intrusive telemarketing calls that have become a daily plague for all of us. In addition, illegal telemarketing campaigns are exposing Utah residents to predatory practices and money scams at an alarming rate,” said Katie Hass, director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection. “The Division is pleased to join the FTC and other states in participating in Stop Scam Calls. Telemarketers operating in Utah understand that the Division of Consumer Protection will not tolerate those who harm citizens by violating federal and state laws.
« Today’s action should send a strong message that the FTC will use every tool at its disposal to target not only the illegal telemarketers who harass millions of consumers every day with nuisance and intrusive calls, but anyone else who enables this illegal conduct, » said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Office of Consumer Protection. « The FTC and its law enforcement partners will not rest in the fight against illegal telemarketing. »
As part of the Stop Scam Calls operation, over the past 18 months, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection has filed a public action against four companies for violating state and federal laws relating to telemarketing activities. The violations included unrecorded telephone solicitations, contacting Do-Not-Call registry numbers, making general misrepresentations in connection with the solicitation, and failure to disclose the seller’s identity. The Division successfully obtained injunctive relief, as well as damages, restitution and civil penalties in the amount of more than $800,000.
Utah’s actions build on work by its state and federal partners, including the FTC, which announced five new cases against companies and individuals responsible for distributing or assisting in distributing billions of illegal telemarketing calls to consumers nationwide. Other contributing law enforcement agencies include the United States Department of Justice, the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Communications Commission.
In addition to the law enforcement actions announced today, the FTC has a variety of materials aimed at helping consumers block unwanted telemarketing calls. This includes advice on rogue and other unwanted calls and information on how to spot and avoid phone scams at ftc.gov/callsalso available in Spanish at ftc.gov/llamadas. The FTC also has a new educational webpage at ftc.gov/RobocallScams which includes examples of real illegal robocalls
The Utah Division of Consumer Protection is one of nine agencies within the Utah Department of Commerce. The Division’s mission is to: Strengthen trust in Utah businesses by protecting consumers through education and fair enforcement. The Division administers more than 25 Utah state laws designed to protect consumers, including those related to telephone solicitations. You can find more information about the Division and file complaints at https://dcp.utah.gov/.