FTC sues to stop robocalling operation

FTC sues to stop robocalling operation
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday sued a pair of companies that the agency says conducted more than 1 billion illegal robocalls.

The FTC alleged in a federal court filing that James Christiano facilitated the illegal calls through his companies that operate a software called TelWeb, which allows users to send a mass volume of calls in a short period of time.

Christiano’s business partner, Andrew Salisbury, is also named in the lawsuit, as well as their businesses, NetDotSolutions and World Connection.

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“This case shows that the FTC will keep using every tool it has to fight illegal robocalls,” Andrew Smith, the head of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, said in a statement. “We will go after not only robocallers, but also companies — like these — who give robocallers the platform and tools to deceive the public and violate the law.”

The FTC charged the two men and their business entities with making calls with illegal prerecorded messages, contacting people on the Do Not Call registry and masking their caller IDs through a process known as “spoofing,” which can be used to make it seem like a call is originating from a number similar to the one being called.

The agency said that about 64 million of the more than 1 billion illegal calls involved spoofed numbers.

"As a responsible provider of software for over two decades, NetDotSolutions takes compliance seriously and has spent innumerable resources to ensure that it legally provides its software and services," Christiano and the company said in a statement. "NetDotSolutions and its president, Jamie Christiano, strongly deny any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend themselves against allegations they assisted or facilitated misuse of the NetDotSolutions software or are somehow vicariously liable for the actions of others."

The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

--This report was updated at 3:52 p.m.