FCC is accusing Philip Roesel, owner of Best Insurance Contracts (doing business as Wilmington Insurance Quotes), of displaying inaccurate caller ID information when placing more than 21 million robocalls in an effort to sell health insurance policies.
The practice Roesel is accused to have engaged in is known as “spoofing,” when a caller disguises their outgoing number so that the recipient cannot see the actual number of the incoming call.
There are several legally justifiable reasons for spoofing, such as when making an anonymous tip to law enforcement or the media, or to conceal the actual location of someone hiding from a stalker or abuser. However, the Truth In Caller ID Act of 2009 prohibits anyone from spoofing caller ID info with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
“In December 2016, a medical paging provider called Spok complained to Commission staff that robocalling campaigns were disrupting its network. Using information provided by Spok to connect these calls to Mr. Roesel, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau subpoenaed Mr. Roesel’s call records from October 2016 through January 2017,” FCC said. “Based on these records, FCC investigators verified 82,106 health insurance telemarketing calls made during that time used falsified caller ID information. These calls are the basis for today’s proposed fine.”
Based on these figures, the commission’s $82.106 million fine comes out to $1,000 per verified incident. However, those 82,106 calls amount to a tiny fraction of the number Roesel is being accused of dialing. FCC says at its peak, Wilmington Insurance Quotes was making upwards of 200,000 calls per day over a 3-month period.
“Perhaps worse is the gall [Roesel] evidently paired with his gumption,” said Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC. “The record shows that he instructed his employees which consumers to pick on: ‘the dumber and more broke the better.’”
Roesel was even quoted as repeatedly bragging to co-workers that his actions were minor legal violations, “akin to driving above the speed limit,” according to Pai.
Source: ABC News