Charges were filed against five companies and three individuals allegedly responsible for carrying out hundreds of millions of fraudulent calls
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee, applauded the announcement by the Department of Justice (DOJ) today that it is taking its first-ever enforcement action against “gateway” telecommunications carriers in a potential step toward cracking down on imposter schemes like the Social Security scam.
Charges were filed against five companies and three individuals purportedly responsible for carrying out hundreds of millions of fraudulent calls. The DOJ alleges that the companies were warned numerous times that they were carrying fraudulent robocalls — including government- and business-imposter calls — and yet continued to carry those calls and facilitate foreign-based fraud schemes targeting Americans. The calls, most of which originated in India, led to massive financial losses to seniors and vulnerable victims across the nation.
Senator Collins has long urged government agencies and telecommunications carriers to stop illegal robocalls before they reach consumers.
“As the Chairman of the Aging Committee, one of my top priorities is protecting our seniors from being defrauded. My Committee has called on law enforcement, regulators, and the business community to work together more aggressively to stop scammers from using VoIP and other technologies to facilitate fraud,” said Senator Collins. “Today’s law enforcement action is a positive step that will encourage telecommunications carriers to block illegal robocalls that are used by scammers to rob their victims.”
In June 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a proposal to allow carriers to block illegal robocalls by default following a letter sent by Senators Collins and Bob Casey (D-PA) to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Senator Collins also authored bipartisan legislation to stiffen penalties for scammers who “spoof” caller-IDs, and she strongly supported the enactment of the TRACED Act to help stop illegal robocalls.
In 2018, the Senior $afe Act, a bipartisan bill Senator Collins authored with then-Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), was signed into law.
Tomorrow, Senator Collins will chair the 25th hearing the Aging Committee has held in the past seven years to examine scams affecting older Americans. Each year, Senator Collins releases a Fraud Book, which details the top 10 most common scams reported to the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) over the previous year. The new edition covering the year 2019 will be unveiled at Wednesday’s Aging Committee hearing.