United States Fines a Man with $9.9 Million for Distributing Thousands of Intruding Robocalls

The U.S. Federal Court has recently imposed a fine of $9,918,000 and an injunction on Mr. Scott Rhodes. He has been proven guilty of sending thousands of “spoofed” Robocalls to people across the country. Robocalls are automated phone calls that send a pre-recorded message to recipients using automated dialing software.

Threat hackers have taken advantage of these Robocalls to circulate fraud or false information, causing inconvenience and losses. It is true even though they have legitimate purposes such as political campaigns, public service announcements, sales, and charity requests.

The United States government has implemented legislation & regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This limits the use of Robocall technology without the recipient's approval, in response to several examples of abuse. The abuse mainly includes fraudulent IRS tax collection warnings.

It’s a common tactic used in conjunction with spoof robocalling, which modifies the caller ID shown on the recipient's device to conceal the real identity while pretending to be a localization or official government agency.

The announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) describes Rhodes' acts as “illegal & malicious,” stressing his readiness to initiate Robocall operations targeting particular regions with upsetting & provocative remarks.

“For example, hundreds of the spoofed Robocalls targeted residents of the Brooklyn, Iowa, area in the aftermath of a local woman's murder. Similarly, more than 2,000 of the spoofed Robocalls targeted residents of Charlottesville, Virginia, during the investigation and prosecution of James Alex Fields Jr. for killing one woman and injuring dozens during the "Unite the Right" rally in August 2017,” reads the U.S. DoJ announcement.

After receiving complaints from a few callers, authorities contacted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Then the FCC linked the harassment to Rhodes, an Idaho & Montana citizen. He was sued by the US Department of Justice in September 2021, and in October 2023, a petition for summary judgment was granted.

Rhodes was hit with a $9.9 million fine and a direction against further violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Truth in Caller ID Act by a federal court in Montana today. The United States Authorities have fined robocalls a great deal in the last few years.

The FCC announced in August 2023 that a global network of companies that had placed over 5 billion robocalls would face record-breaking penalties of $300 million. The FCC suggested in February 2022 that a health insurance provider face a $45 million penalty for making over 500,000 illegal Robocalls.