US files lawsuit against overseas call centers

Washington: The Trump administration has filed lawsuits against five companies and three individuals allegedly responsible for making millions of fake robocalls to American consumers from overseas, mostly from India, and leading to massive financial losses, the Department of Justice has said.

Seeking a restraining order against such call centers and robocalls, the Department of Justice in its class action lawsuit alleged that the companies were warned many times not to carry fraudulent robocalls “including government and business-imposter calls” yet they continued to do so and facilitated foreign-based fraud schemes targeting Americans. “The calls, most of which originated in India, led to massive financial losses to elderly and vulnerable victims across the nation,” it said on Tuesday.

One case has been filed against Ecommerce National LLC d/b/a TollFreeDeals.com; SIP Retail d/b/a sipretail.com; and their owner/operators, Nicholas Palumbo, 38, and Natasha Palumbo, 33, of Scottsdale, Arizona. The other case has been filed against Global Voicecom Inc, Global Telecommunication Services Inc, KAT Telecom Inc., aka IP Dish, and the owner/operator Jon Kahen, 45, of Great Neck, New York.

In each case, the Department of Justice sought an order immediately halting the defendants’ transmission of unlawful robocall traffic. A federal court has entered a temporary restraining order against the Global Voicecom defendants.

“Robocalls are an annoyance to many Americans, and those that are fraudulent and predatory are a serious problem, often causing devastating financial harm to the elderly and vulnerable members of our society,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.

According to federal prosecutors, Americans have experienced a deluge of robocalls over the past several years. Many of the robocalls originate from abroad. Recently, foreign fraudsters have used robocalls to impersonate government investigators and to provide Americans with alarming messages, such as: the recipient’s social security number or other personal information has been compromised or otherwise connected to criminal activity; the recipient faces imminent arrest; their assets are being frozen; their bank and credit accounts have suspect activity; their benefits are being stopped; they face imminent deportation; or combinations of these threats, it said.

“Each of these claims is a lie, designed to scare the call recipient into paying large sums of money. Social Security imposters, IRS imposters, and tech-support schemes (in which callers impersonate legitimate technology companies) have proliferated in part because of the ease with which robocalls can reach millions of potential victims every hour,” Department of Justice said.