Few would disagree that robocalls are a plague. According to Scientific American, 8 billion messages were sent out in 2018 alone. In Florida, Smartbiz Telecom, located in Miami, is enabling foreign robocalls to be routed into the country. As such, Attorney General Ashley Moody is filing a court action against them.
"The defendants helped facilitate the transmission of millions of foreign-based robocalls into the United States," says Moody. She describes how Smartbiz ignored warnings "multiple times," 250 filed by the Industry Traceback Group, to be exact; yet did nothing against them. More alarmingly, Moody alleges that Smartbiz actually profits from the fraudulent messages. This makes them linked to more illegal robocalls than 98% of all companies in the telecommunications industry.
Moody's complaint contains five counts against Smartbiz Telecom. Two are violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Specifically, the first is that it is illegal to use an automatic dialing system or artificial/prerecorded voice. The second is essentially an extension of the first, though the difference is based on residential versus mobile phone numbers.
The third is for violating the Truth in Caller ID Act, while the fourth is violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The Truth in Caller ID Act essentially means what it sounds like: it is illegal to knowingly impersonate another caller for the purpose of scamming or harming them. The Telemarketing Sales Rule is that telemarketers cannot engage in abusive or deceptive sales tactics over the phone.
Finally, Smartbiz Telecom is alleged to violate Chapter 501, Part II of Florida's Consumer Protection Statutes. Part II is better known as the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices, which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) filed his proposed anti-ESG legislation under back in July.
If Smartbiz is found guilty, Moody intends to "shut them down and force them to pay restitution to consumers harmed by scams associated with these foreign-based robocalls."