Company allegedly spoofed phone numbers for clients
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, representing the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, sued Avid Telecom, its owner Michael D. Lansky, and Vice President Stacey S. Reeves today for allegedly initiating and facilitating billions of illegal robocalls to millions of people and violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws. Avid Telecom sent or transmitted more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry between December 2018 and January 2023 – more than 72 million of which went to numbers in Utah.
“Robocalls are beyond annoying, they’re a threat to citizens in Utah and nationwide. For years, our office has been working closely with the Division of Consumer Protection and other state attorneys general to fight these scammers. It’s gratifying to take on Avid Telecom in order to halt the billions of illegal robocalls every year,” said the attorney general.
Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software, and/or expertise to help its customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider and allegedly facilitated or helped route illegal robocalls across the country. Between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid sent or attempted to transmit more than 24.5 billion calls. More than 90 percent of those calls lasted less than just 15 seconds, indicating they were likely robocalls. Further, Avid helped make hundreds of millions of calls using spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and private companies.
Avid Telecom allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls about Social Security Administration scams, Medicare scams, auto warranty scams, Amazon scams, DirecTV scams, credit card interest rate reduction scams, and employment scams. Examples of some of these scam calls are available to listen to here and here.
The USTelecom-led Industry Traceback Group, which notifies providers about known and suspected illegal robocalls sent across their networks, sent at least 329 notifications to Avid Telecom that it was transmitting these calls, but Avid Telecom continued to do so.
Today’s legal action comes from the nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 bipartisan attorneys general. The task force is investigating and taking legal action against those responsible for routing significant volumes of illegal robocall traffic into and across the United States. The Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General provided investigative assistance.
Attorney General Reyes is joined in filing today’s complaint by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
About the Utah Division of Consumer Protection: The Division of Consumer Protection is one of nine agencies within the Utah Department of Commerce. The mission of the Division of Consumer Protection is: Strengthening trust in Utah’s commercial activities by protecting consumers through education and impartial enforcement. The Division administers more than 25 Utah state laws designed to protect consumers. Consumers can find more information and submit complaints at https://dcp.utah.gov/.