New actions target those who distributed or facilitated billions of illegal calls.
SALT LAKE CITY— The Utah Division of Consumer Protection, a division within the Utah Department of Commerce, along with the Federal Trade Commission and other law enforcement partners nationwide, which includes attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, announced a new crackdown on illegal telemarketing targeting operations responsible for billions of calls to U.S. consumers.
The joint state and federal “Operation Stop Scam Calls” initiative builds on the efforts of Utah and other state and federal partners to combat the scourge of illegal
telemarketing, including robocalls. This initiative targets telemarketers and the companies that hire them, as well as lead generators who deceptively collect and provide consumers’ telephone numbers to robocallers and others, falsely representing that these consumers have consented to receive calls. It also targets Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers who facilitate tens of billions of illegal robocalls every year, which often originate overseas.
“Nobody likes the intrusive telemarketing calls that have become a daily plague to us all. Moreover, illegal telemarketing campaigns expose Utahns to predatory practices and monetary scams at an alarming rate,” says Katie Hass, Director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection. “The Division is pleased to join the FTC and other states by participating in Operation Stop Scam Calls. Telemarketers operating in Utah are on notice that the Division of Consumer Protection will not tolerate those who harm citizens by violating federal and state laws.”
“Today’s action should send a strong message that the FTC will use every tool at its disposal to target not only illegal telemarketers who harass millions of consumers every day with annoying and intrusive calls but anyone else who enables this unlawful conduct,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC and its law enforcement partners will not rest in the fight against illegal telemarketing.”
As part of Operation Stop Scam Calls, in the last 18 months, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection has taken public action against four companies for violating state and federal laws related to telemarketing activities. The violations included unregistered telephone solicitations, contacts to numbers on the Do-Not-Call registry, general misrepresentations in connection with the solicitation, and failure to disclose the identity of the seller. The Division successfully obtained injunctive relief as well as damages, restitution, and civil penalties amounting to over $800,000.
Utah’s actions build on the work of its state and federal partners, including the FTC, which announced five new cases against companies and individuals responsible for distributing or assisting in the distribution of billions of illegal telemarketing calls to consumers nationwide. Other contributing law enforcers include the U.S. Department of Justice, Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Communications Commission.
In addition to the law enforcement actions announced today, the FTC has a variety of materials aimed at helping consumers block unwanted telemarketing calls. This includes advice related to robocalls and other unwanted calls and information on how to spot and avoid phone scams at ftc.gov/calls, which is also available in Spanish at ftc.gov/llamadas. The FTC also has a new educational webpage at ftc.gov/RobocallScams that includes examples of real illegal robocalls
The Utah Division of Consumer Protection is one of nine agencies within the Utah Department of Commerce. The mission of the Division 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, including those related to telephone solicitations. Additional information about the Division can be found, and complaints can be filed at https://dcp.utah.gov/.