Alleged robocall scammer faces $120 million fine

The Florida man made up to 96 million calls in three months last year, according to the FCC.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng

Phones have changed over the years, as have the ways scammers find us.


These robocalls could cost a Florida man $120 million.

The Federal Communications Commission recommended on Thursday the highest fine ever for robocalls against Adrian Abramovich, who allegedly made 96 million spoofed robocalls over three months from Miami.

That would come out to $1.25 for each robocall that Abramovich is accused of making. The FCC said it proposed the fine based on 80,000 spoofed calls that the agency was able to verify. Authorities have accused Abramovich of violating the Truth in Caller ID Act, which prohibits callers from faking their caller ID information with the intent to hurt or defraud people.

In the robocall scheme, Abramovich allegedly spoofed the numbers to match the area code and first three digits of his victims -- a tactic called "neighbor spoofing" that made people lower their guards. They would pick up, thinking it's a local number, only to hear an automatic message offering scam vacation deals while pretending to be travel companies.

This went on from October 1 to December 31 in 2016, the FCC said. Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman, called it the "most egregious 'neighbor spoofing' robocalling scheme" the commission had ever seen.

"We aim to put unlawful robocallers out of business and to deter anyone else from hatching a business plan that plunders American consumers' pocketbooks," Pai said in a statement.

A court must still approve the proposed fine.