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VoIP carrier fined millions by FTC for client robocalls

VoIP
(Image credit: Federal Trade Commission)
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The FTC has announced further crackdowns on so-called "robocalls" with a multi-million dollar settlement against one major culprit.

Globex Telecom and an affiliated corporation will pay $1.95 million to settle charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Ohio.

During the lawsuit, both the State of Ohio and the FTC made allegations that Globex, a Montreal-based VoIP company, illegally facilitated robocalls to US consumers that advertised phony credit card interest rate reduction services.

According to the FTC, a client business known as Educare Centre Services used Globex’s services to place the calls in question. Educare was also charged in the lawsuit along with Globex’s former CEO, Mohammad Souheil, whom the FTC says had control over both Educare and Globex.

Telemarketing

The FTC said that the settlement should act as a warning to other companies that facilitate illegal robocalling schemes.

“We will continue to go after companies like Educare that target people using these unlawful practices, and VoIP service providers like Globex who help them”, said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Educare, two other corporations run by Souheil, and three individuals who administered the telemarketing scheme are subject to judgments totaling $17.8 million. However, although this figure will be in-part recouped from forfeited cash in Educare’s frozen bank accounts, most of these additional charges are suspended due to the defendants’ inability to pay. 

The FTC will only require these additional defendants to pay a sum of $150,000. Combined with the $1.95 million from Globex, this brings the combined charges up to $2.1 million. 

But that’s not all. Globex’s settlement also severely restricts how the company is able to behave from now on, potentially providing an insight into how the FTC will handle future cases that concern offending VoIP businesses.

Under the terms of the agreement, Globex will have to block calls made with spoofing technology or from suspicious phone numbers. Plus, the company can no longer take cryptocurrency payments for its services, will no longer be able to work with firms that lack a social media presence or public-facing website, and must end any relationships with clients that get too many official USTelcom complaints.