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FCC, FTC warn providers against scam coronavirus robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission have warned telephone companies that serve as gateways for overseas calls to stop forwarding coronavirus-related robocall scams.

The agencies sent joint letters to three U.S. gateway providers – they act as onramps for international calls into the U.S. phone network – demanding they cut off robocalls designed to take advantage of consumer fears about the COVID-19 virus.

The FCC and FTC gave the three companies – SIPJoin of Suffolk, Virginia, Connexum of Orange, California, and VoIP Terminator/BLMarketing of Lake Mary, Florida – 48 hours to stop “routing and transmitting” the calls into the U.S. or “face serious consequences,” the agencies said in announcements about the action.

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COVID-19 scams cited by the agencies include one Philippines-originating robocall campaign touting a “non-existent ‘free test kit’ for COVID-19,” according to the FCC. Another, which originates in Pakistan, offers HVAC cleaning services that “robocallers falsely claim will help fight COVID-19,” the agency said.

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